Bus pass - how to apply

Residents who are pension-age and residents with certain disabilities qualify for a national concessionary bus pass. The pass allows free off-peak travel on most local bus services anywhere in England. 

Who is entitled to a pass?

You are entitled to a travel pass if:

What is the pass for?

The pass entitles you to free off-peak local bus travel anywhere in England (not Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland). 

When can you use the pass?

That is journeys starting between 9:30am and 11pm on weekdays and at any time on weekends and bank holidays.

How to apply

You will need to complete an application form and provide proof you live in Bedford Borough and are entitled to a pass. The passes are produced by an external manufacturer and are usually posted directly to your home address. Please allow up to three weeks from the date you apply to receive your pass.

You can apply apply online for an Older Person's or Disabled Person's bus pass using the form below:

Apply for older person's or disabled person's bus pass

You can pick up a paper application form from the Customer Service Centre and Borough Hall Reception or request one by post.

Proof you are entitled to a bus pass

You will need to provide documents proving that you are a permanent resident of Bedford Borough and that you are eligible by age or have an eligible disability. 

The documents should be recent and show your full name and address, they can be either original documents or photocopies. The types of documents that can be accepted may change from time to time; please see the current application form for details.

Examples of the documents that can be accepted include:

For proof of age:

  • Birth certificate
  • Passport
  • Driving Licence
  • Pension Letter

For proof of address:

  • State retirement pension letter
  • Utility bill (less than 4 months old) eg gas, electric or telephone
  • Council tax or benefit letter
  • Driving licence

For proof of an eligible disability:

  • A Blue Badge (copy of both sides showing serial number and expiry date)
  • Proof that you currently receive the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) of 8 points or more for "Moving Around" or "Communicating Verbally".
  • Proof that you receive a War Pensioner's Mobility Supplement (WPMS) or payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme Tariff 1-8

If you are not in receipt of any of the above benefits or a blue badge, please speak to a member of staff who can advise you.


Yes, you will also need to provide a passport quality and size colour photograph of yourself (exactly 35mm x 45mm). It should be a full face view (no hat or sunglasses), clear and sharp, not too light or dark with your face in the centre of the image, have been taken within the past year and against a cream background. This can be a photo on your phone as long as it meets the above requirements.

Without a suitable photograph (PDF) your pass cannot be produced. Old, poor quality snapshots are not suitable and cannot be used.

Does Bedford Borough Council offer any extra concessions?

Until 31 January 2017 Bedford Borough Council's concessionary travel pass holders were allowed to travel free at any time within the Borough's area. The Scheme changed on 1 February 2017 when a £1 fare was introduced for most peak time travel.

See also travelling by train below.

What is a ‘local’ bus?

There is a legal definition, but in everyday terms, it means the bus services used by the general public running in towns and cities or linking nearby towns with one another or running between towns and the villages around them.

Community bus services like the Flittabus, Ivel Sprinter, Road Runner, Villager and Whitbread Wanderbus are included. If in doubt, check with the operator of the service.

Local bus routes operated in the Bedford Borough area include:

  • Bedford Park and Ride
  • Ivel Sprinter
  • Flittabus
  • Grant Palmer
  • Roadrunner
  • Stagecoach
  • The Villager
  • Whitbread Wanderer
  • UNO

Travelling by train

Govia Thameslink Railway (Thameslink and Great Northern) and other train operators in Bedfordshire may allow you to use your bus pass to obtain a discount. Check directly with the train operator.

What do I do if my circumstances change?

If you move address, you must notify Bedford Borough Council in writing by emailing concessionarytravel@bedford.gov.uk. If you don't, you will not receive a new pass when yours has expired.

If you move out of the Bedford Borough area, you should return your pass to the Council and make an application to your new local authority.

See also: