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:

  • where and when you can use your bus pass
  • which buses you can use
  • how to use your pass on the bus
  • using a companion pass.

You can also download our leaflet if you prefer Concessionary bus pass – What you need to know.

Where and when can I use my 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 anytime everyday of the week 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).

For national bus information, contact Traveline:

Phone: 0871 200 22 33
Website: Traveline website.

Which bus services am I able to use my 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 six 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 do I use my 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 choose 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.

Companion pass holders may also travel alone.

Companions:

  • do not need their own bus pass
  • can only travel free of charge when travelling with a companion 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 in East Sussex, West Sussex and Kent. Elsewhere the companion will need to pay a fare (this includes Brighton & Hove). If your companion travels with you out of East Sussex, they may have to pay for their return journey (for example, a companion would be able to travel for free from Seaford to Brighton, but would have to pay for the return journey from Brighton to Seaford).

Visitors who hold a bus pass

Visitors can use their valid English National Concessionary Travel Scheme bus pass in East Sussex. As long as you are travelling between 9.30am to 11pm weekdays and anytime at weekends or bank holidays on a local bus service.

In addition if you hold a Kent or West Sussex Companion + bus pass you can travel with a companion for free.

Contact us

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