Using your bus pass
Using your bus pass
Eligible older or disabled people are entitled to free off-peak travel on local buses throughout England. You will need a bus pass, which must be shown to the bus driver on each journey.
On this page, you can find out:
When you can use your bus pass
You can use your bus pass on local bus services anywhere in England at these times:
- 9.30am to 11pm, weekdays
- Anytime at weekends or bank holidays
You can also use your pass in London on buses bearing the Transport for London roundel logo (you cannot use your pass on the Underground, DLR, Trams or non Transport for London buses). Please see Freedom Pass - Transport for London (tfl.gov.uk) for information on current travel information and times of use.
See Journey planning, timetables and maps for planning your travel.
What happens if the bus is late or early on weekday times?
Your bus pass will be valid in the following circumstances in East Sussex County Council boundaries for the weekday times:
- In the morning if a bus is scheduled to depart a stop at 9.30am or after 9.30am, but is allowing passengers on before the departure time. For example at the start of the service or if a service is running earlier than scheduled.
- In the morning if a bus is scheduled to depart a stop before 9.30am, but is running late so it reaches the stop at or after 9.30am.
- In the evening if a bus is scheduled to depart a stop before 11pm, but is running late so it reaches the stop at or after 11pm.
Which services you can use your bus pass on
You can use your pass on all local bus services in England.
You cannot use it on:
- services where most seats can be reserved, like coaches
- services which run for less than 6 weeks, like shuttle buses to special events
- for tourists, like open-top bus tours
- services which are running instead of a train, known as ‘rail replacement’ services
- services in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales
- most Park & Ride services
- rail and tram services nationwide and London Underground.
How to use your bus pass
On buses with a smartcard reader, you can hold your bus pass over the reader with the photo face up. The bus driver will let you know when it has been read correctly.
Smartcard readers are not yet available on all buses and your bus pass won’t currently work with Oyster Card readers on London services. If there is no reader, just show your bus pass to the driver.
You do not need a ticket, but on some bus services the driver will print you out a ‘zero-priced’ ticket to help record their passenger numbers.
Using a companion pass
Disabled bus pass holders who need help to travel on buses can apply to have a companion pass. A companion pass is identified by a C+ on the pass and allows another person to travel with the holder, free of charge.
The pass holder may also travel alone.
- do not need their own bus pass
- can only travel free of charge when travelling with the companion bus pass holder
- can be any age, as long as they are able to provide assistance to the companion bus pass holder
- can travel free of charge with you within the East Sussex County Council boundary.
- can also travel with you within the West Sussex County Council and Kent County Council boundaries thanks to a joint arrangement.
- will need to pay for journeys starting within the Brighton & Hove City Council boundary. For example if your companion travels with you from Seaford to Brighton, they would have to pay for the journey back from Brighton to Seaford.
- will need to pay to travel anywhere else in the country.
Information for visitors with a bus pass
If you are visiting East Sussex and you have a valid English National Concessionary Travel Scheme bus pass from another authority. You can use this at the national scheme times.
In addition if you hold a Kent or West Sussex Companion + bus pass you can travel with a companion for free.
- The pass is not transferable and is only for use by the bus pass holder.
- The pass is valid for travel on bus services for journeys permitted within the scheme as notified. These services may be subject to change at any time.
- The pass must be shown to the driver at the time of travel to obtain the concession, and any authorised official on demand. Failure to do so will result in the appropriate full adult (standard) fare being charged. The right is reserved to seek confirmation of the holder's identity.
- The pass remains the property of the issuing authority. The permit should be surrendered should the holder become ineligible or no longer requires it.
- It is your responsibility to look after your bus pass. If lost, stolen or damaged, please report it to the issuing authority immediately. A non-refundable charge will apply for a replacement.
- The bus pass does not guarantee your travel and the conditions of carriage of the bus operator will apply.
- If your bus pass is suspected of being used fraudulently, for example by a different person from the person to whom it was issued, your pass may be confiscated by the bus driver and you may lose your right to a replacement.
- If your bus pass is not able to be read electronically it must be returned to the issuer. If it is found to be damaged a charge may be made for its replacement.
- If you have held a bus pass for several years and your appearance has changed such that you cannot be recognised by the driver then you must obtain a replacement pass.
- It is your responsibility to notify the issuing authority of any changes to your home address. Failure to do so may result in your pass not being renewed and a delay before you receive a new one.
Please contact us to request a copy of the terms.
If you have a question about this page, please speak to our information centre:
Phone: 0300 33 09 471 (local rate).
Lines are open Monday to Friday 9 am to 4 pm
Email: Concessionary Travel (please provide any details like date of birth or address that may help us respond).
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