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Help with travel costs if you're older or disabled

This advice applies to Scotland

You might be able to pay less or travel free on public transport if you:

  • are an older or disabled traveller
  • live in a more remote community in Scotland.

You can check if you're eligible and how to claim concessionary fares for bus, train and ferry travel.

You should also check with your local council to find out if there are any other concessionary travel schemes in your area.

Check if you can get free bus and coach travel in Scotland

You can get free bus and long-distance coach travel in Scotland if you’re:

  • 60 or over
  • under 60, disabled and meet certain conditions. 

You'll be eligible on the grounds of disability if you:

  • get Disability Living Allowance at the higher rate of the mobility component, or at the higher or middle rate of the care component 
  • get Child Disability Payment at the higher rate of the mobility component, or at the highest or middle rate of the care component
  • get Short-term Assistance while you challenge a Child Disability Payment decision about the higher rate of the mobility component, or the middle or highest rate of the care component
  • get Personal Independence Payment
  • get Adult Disability Payment
  • get Short-term Assistance while you challenge an Adult Disability Payment decision
  • get Attendance Allowance
  • have a blue badge
  • are profoundly or severely deaf
  • have been told not to drive on medical grounds or you would be refused a driving licence, for example if you would not meet the eyesight standard
  • have a learning disability or mental health condition that has lasted for more than a year. You must need to travel to health or social care appointments as part of treatment activities, care or for rehabilitation. Your ability to travel must also be impaired
  • are terminally ill
  • have a progressive degenerative condition and mobility problems
  • have lost one or more limbs
  • are an injured veteran with mobility problems
  • are under 16 and have a diagnosis of severe sight impairment that's been confirmed by an optician or doctor
  • are 16 or over and registered blind or partially sighted.

There's information about registering as sight impaired on the Royal National Institute of Blind People website

Bus travel if you’re aged 5 to 21

You can apply for a card to get free bus travel for young people. This might be a good option if you do not need a companion because you won’t need to renew your card when your proof that you’re disabled expires. Find out more about getting free bus travel if you’re under 22.

If you need a companion to travel with you, it might be better to apply for a bus pass on the grounds of disability. You’ll need to:

  • show proof that you’re disabled and need a companion
  • renew your card when your evidence expires.

You can apply for free companion travel when you apply for your bus pass. 

How to apply for a bus pass

The pass is called a National Entitlement Card. 

Find out how to apply in your area by contacting your local council or Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT). You'll also need to send evidence. 

Find contact details to apply for a National Entitlement Card on the Transport Scotland website

Check what evidence you need to apply for a National Entitlement Card on the Transport Scotland website.

Replacing your National Entitlement Card

If your National Entitlement Card was issued because you're aged 60 or over, it won't have an expiry date.

If your card was issued because you're disabled, it will have an expiry date. You'll need to provide current evidence when you apply for a replacement card.

If your card is lost, stolen or damaged you should contact your local council or SPT to ask for a new one.

Find the contact details to replace your National Entitlement Card on the Transport Scotland website.

Where you can use your bus pass  

Your National Entitlement Card is your bus pass. It gives you the same rights as a full-fare paying passenger.

You can use it to travel in Scotland on almost all local and long-distance bus services. You can use it for as many journeys as you want.

You cannot use your bus pass on some services, such as premium-fare night buses and city sightseeing buses. 

Free bus travel for a companion

You can get free bus travel for a companion if you cannot travel alone because you're disabled. You can apply for this at the same time as a card for yourself.

Your companion does not have to be the same person every time you travel, but they have to be over 5 years of age.

You'll need proof that you're not able to travel alone like your benefit award letter or a copy of your blind registration certificate.

You'll be eligible for free companion travel if you:

  • live in a care home, residential home or hospital and you're eligible for the higher or middle rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Adult Disability Payment or Attendance Allowance
  • get Disability Living Allowance at the higher or middle rate of the care component 
  • get Child Disability Payment at the highest or middle rate of the care component
  • get Short-term Assistance while you challenge a Child Disability Payment decision about the highest or middle rate of the care component
  • get Personal Independence Payment at the standard or enhanced rate of the daily living component
  • get Adult Disability Payment at the standard or enhanced rate of the daily living component
  • get Short-term Assistance while you challenge an Adult Disability Payment decision about the standard or enhanced rate of the daily living component
  • get Attendance Allowance
  • get war pensions constant attendance allowance
  • are registered as severely sight impaired (blind)
  • are under 16 and have a diagnosis of severe sight impairment that's been confirmed by an optician or doctor. 

You can get more information about travelling with a companion on the Transport Scotland website.

Bus pass and free companion travel if you're not eligible for Personal Independence Payment 

If you have a free bus pass or a bus pass with a companion logo and you're assessed for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) but don’t qualify for it, you can keep your card until it expires.

How to report misuse of free bus passes

You can report misuse of free bus passes, such as:

  • passengers using passes which don't belong to them
  • passengers using fraudulent cards
  • bus firms giving passengers a ticket for a longer journey than they actually make.

You can call Transport Scotland free on 0800 328 5690, or email concessionarytravel@transport.gov.scot.

Using buses and coaches if you're disabled

You can find out more about access rights when travelling by bus.

Train travel

You can find a list of concessionary travel schemes on the National Rail website.

If travelling by train is difficult because you're disabled, you might be eligible to travel free under the Scottish National Blind Persons Scheme or to buy a Disabled Persons Railcard.

Disabled Persons Railcard

If you have the Disabled Persons Railcard you can get:

  • 1/3 off most rail fares throughout Great Britain.
  • 1/3 off an adult companion's rail fare. 

The Disabled Persons Railcard costs £20 for a 1-year card, or £54 for a 3-year card.

You can get a Disabled Persons Railcard if you:

  • are registered as blind or partially sighted - there's information about registration on the Royal National Institute of Blind People website
  • are registered as deaf or use a hearing aid
  • have epilepsy and either: have repeated attacks even though you receive drug treatment; or are not allowed to drive because of your epilepsy
  • get Disability Living Allowance at the higher or lower rate of the mobility component, or at the higher or middle rate of the care component
  • get Personal Independence Payment - you'll need a copy of your award letter
  • get Attendance Allowance
  • get Severe Disablement Allowance
  • get War Pensioner's Mobility Supplement
  • get War or Service Disablement Pension for 80% or more
  • are buying or leasing a vehicle through the Motability scheme.

You can find out how to apply on the Disabled Persons Railcard website.

If you're disabled but don't have a railcard

There are other concessionary discounts on fares available for registered blind and partially sighted people or wheelchair users who do not have a Disabled Persons Railcard:

  • 34% off first class, or standard anytime singles or returns
  • 34% off first class, or standard anytime day single
  • 50% off first class, or standard anytime day return.

Season tickets for blind or partially sighted people

If you're registered blind or partially sighted, you can buy 1 adult season ticket that lets a companion travel with you on National Rail services for free. It does not have to be the same person travelling with you on every journey.

If you're travelling on your own, you might qualify for free travel under the Scottish National Blind Persons Scheme.

You can find more information about eligibility and the proof you will need when buying a railcard or claiming concessionary fares on the Disabled Persons Railcard website.

Ferry travel

You can get 2 free return ferry journeys to the Scottish mainland each year if you:

  • are a resident of the Western Isles, Orkney or Shetland, and
  • have a National Entitlement Card for free bus travel in Scotland.

You can get more information about free ferry travel on the Transport Scotland website.

You might be entitled to free ferry travel under the Scottish National Blind Persons scheme if you:

  • are registered blind or partially sighted, and
  • have the eye symbol on your National Entitlement Card.

To find out if your journey is free, check with the ferry operator.

Scottish National Blind Persons scheme

The scheme offers free rail, ferry and tram travel to registered blind or partially sighted people in Scotland.

To be eligible for the Scottish National Blind Persons scheme, your National Entitlement Card must have the eye symbol on it.

Contact your local council to find out more about the scheme.

This scheme does not offer free or concessionary rail travel to a companion. For information about concessionary rail travel for a companion, see Disabled Persons Railcard and season tickets.

Air Discount Scheme for Highlands and Islands

If you live in Colonsay, Orkney, Shetland, the Western Isles, Islay, Jura, Caithness or North West Sutherland you might be entitled to reduced air fares on certain routes.

If you're a student from one of these areas studying away from home you can also use the scheme.

The Scottish government Air Discount Scheme gives a discount of 50% on the air fare on certain routes. Find more information, including how to register to use the scheme, on the Air Discount Scheme website.

Local concessionary schemes

You should check with your local council if there are any special travel schemes available in your area. Some local councils fund special travel schemes for particular groups in the community. This would be in addition to the National Entitlement Card.

Some local councils run Taxi Card schemes for people with severe mobility difficulties, who cannot use public transport, to be able to use taxis at a reduced rate.

In some areas, you can't have both a National Entitlement Card and a Taxi Card.

Help with travel costs for jobseekers

You can get some help with travel costs if you're a jobseeker.

You can get a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card from your local job centre. You need to have been claiming Jobseeker's Allowance or job hunting and claiming Universal Credit. You need to have been claiming the relevant benefit for:

  • 3 to 9 months if you're 18 to 24 years old, or
  • 3 to 12 months if you're over 25 years old.

Different travel providers might offer different deals. Once you have your Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card, check what is on offer from the transport providers that you need to use.

From ScotRail, you can claim 2 free return tickets per month to attend interviews. Once you have a job, you can get a free ScotRail ticket for the first month at work. For more information go to the ScotRail website.

There are also discounts available from Stagecoach. Find out more on the Stagecoach website.

Help with the travel costs of starting a job

If you’re starting a job, you might be able to get a Job Start Payment to help with travel costs if you’re:

  • 16 to 24 years old, or a care leaver aged 16 to 25
  • getting certain benefits.

Find out more about Job Start Payment.

Accessible vehicle and Blue badge scheme 

If you’re eligible for a bus or rail pass, you might also be able to get:

You might be entitled to more concessions if you have a blue badge, such as exemption from road tax.

You can find out more about the blue badge scheme.

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