Using your bus pass


Concessionary bus pass April 2021 renewals - Please see the bus pass renewals page latest for updates.

Coronavirus update - Concessionary bus pass times 8 March update.

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
  • Information for visitors who hold a bus pass
  • Terms of use for East Sussex bus pass holders

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

1. 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 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).

See Timetables, maps and real time information for planning your travel.

2. 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 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.

3. Using 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. Terms of use for East Sussex bus pass holders

Our Terms of Use are printed on the back of every bus pass letter. These should be read and understood by bus pass holders.

You can also download it here Terms of Use or contact us to request a copy in the post.

7. Contact us

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