Applying for a disabled person's bus pass

Bus Pass - Disabled person's bus pass image

Eligible 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:

  • whether you are eligible for a disabled person’s bus pass
  • about companion passes
  • how and where to apply
  • what you need to bring with you.

Who is eligible for a disabled person's bus pass?

The disabled person’s pass is for people of fare paying age (5 and over) who live in England with a qualifying disability.

The disability should have a substantial effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities and must:

  • be permanent, or
  • have lasted at least 12 months, or
  • be likely to last at least 12 months, or
  • be likely to recur

A qualifying disability would be if you:

  • are blind or partially sighted
  • are profoundly or severely deaf
  • are without speech
  • have a disability, or have suffered an injury, which has a substantial and long-term effect on your ability to walk
  • don’t have arms or have long-term loss of the use of both arms
  • have a learning disability, that is a state of arrested or incomplete development of mind, which includes significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning
  • are unable to drive because your application for a driving licence would or has been refused under section 92 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (physical fitness). However, you won’t be eligible if you were refused because of persistent misuse of drugs or alcohol.

Mental health conditions are distinct from learning disabilities and are generally excluded from the scheme. You would have to look at the final point above, being refused a driving licence, and consider if you can apply.

What do I need to apply?

To apply you will need the following:

  • proof of your disability
  • proof of your address
  • a photograph of you.

Please send photocopies only. East Sussex County Council cannot accept any responsibility for items that are mislaid in the post. No documentation will be returned.

See below for a full list of acceptable documents.

Proof of your disability

For a list of acceptable documents, see: Bus pass – proof of your disability.

Proof of your address in East Sussex

  • a valid current driving licence (photocard only)
  • a letter from Department of Work and Pensions (no more than 3 months old)
  • a recent bank or credit card statement (no more than 3 months old)
  • your current council tax bill
  • a recent utility bill (no more than 3 months old).

If your main home is not in East Sussex, you should apply for a bus pass to the local authority where you usually live.


You will need one passport style/sized colour photograph of your head and shoulders with a single coloured background.

Head wear, unless specified for religious or medical purposes, and tinted glasses are not to be worn.

Where do I get an application form?

You can either:

Companion bus pass

Companion passes

If you are disabled and need help to travel, you can apply for a companion pass which allows someone to travel with you free of charge. A specialist’s opinion (someone independent who understands your medical condition) on travel arrangements would be taken into consideration when the application is being assessed. Please submit this in addition to your evidence of disability.

You do not have to always travel with a companion. You may not be able to use the companion element (if applicable) of a Companion pass outside of East Sussex.

Contact us

If you have a question, please speak to our information centre: