Residents living in England can access this support once they hit the retirement age threshold. However, pending changes to the state pension age mean that over 60s will have a longer time to wait for their free bus pass.
What is the state pension age?
Once an individual reaches a certain age, they are entitled to retirement payments and certain benefits.
Under current Government plans, the state pension age will be increased from 66 to 67 in between 2026 and 2028.
On top of this, another rise to the retirement age threshold is expected sometime before 2046 at the latest.
As a result of these regular hikes, which are based on life expectancy data, people have a longer wait for their benefits.
What is the free bus pass?
One of the freebie benefits linked to the state pension age in England is the Government’s free bus pass scheme.
This was set up to help older people with the cost of travel and reduce their overall expenses once they are likely out of work.
Across the UK, eligibility for the free bus pass is dependent on age but in England, it is specifically associated with the state pension.
As such, any changes to the state pension age mean over 60s will be forced to pay for bus tickets for longer than expected.
Outside of England, there are different eligibility criteria when it comes to people accessing the free bus pass.
Notably, those who live in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales can get the benefit once they turn 60.
This is because the different devolved Governments can apply different rules regarding the concession.
However, those living in England may be able to get a free bus pass even if they are not of state pension age.
For those who are concerned about the long wait for the free bus pass, other concessions are available.
Age UK outlined guidance on its website for those wanting discounts on bus travel across the country.
The charity explained: “It can also be worth contacting individual transport operators to see if they offer discounts.
“For example, National Express offers Coachcards to older or disabled customers, which cost £12.50 and save you a third on your travel across the year.”