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of everyone affected by epilepsy

Free bus travel for people with epilepsy

These pages are about benefits in the UK. If you are looking for information about benefits in another country, please contact your local epilepsy organisation

If you would be refused a driving licence because of your epilepsy, you may be entitled to free bus travel (in England, Scotland and Wales) or half price bus travel (in Northern Ireland). You may also be entitled to free or reduced price bus travel if you get certain benefits. You are not eligible for a bus pass just because you have epilepsy. Click on the relevant country below to find out more.
England
Scotland
Wales
Northern Ireland

England

If you would be refused a driving licence

If you would be refused a driving licence because of your epilepsy, you are entitled to a disabled person’s bus pass.

If you are on certain benefits

You may also be entitled to a disabled person’s bus pass if you get certain benefits:
•    The higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance
•    Personal Independence Payment with at least 8 points against the ‘Moving Around’ and/or the ‘Communicating Verbally’ activities

How it works

A disabled person’s bus pass can be used for free off-peak travel anywhere in England between 9.30am and 11.00pm Monday to Friday and all day at weekends and Bank Holidays. In some areas, for example Greater London, you can also travel free at other times. You may also get reduced local rail fares in some areas.
If you would not be able to travel without a companion you may be entitled to a pass that allows a companion to travel with you for free too.

How to apply

To apply for a disabled person’s bus pass, contact your local council or your local passenger transport authority. You will need to provide evidence that you are eligible for a disabled person’s bus pass. Check with your local authority what evidence they need. You can find their details in your local phone book, or by entering your post code at gov.uk/apply-for-disabled-bus-pass

Scotland

If you would be refused a driving licence

If you would be refused a driving licence because of your epilepsy, you are entitled to a disabled person’s bus pass with a National Entitlement Card. You are also entitled to a companion pass if you have a disabled child under the age of 5.

If you are on certain benefits

You may be entitled to a disabled person’s bus pass with a National Entitlement Card if you, or your child, receive certain benefits including:
•    The higher or middle rate of the care component, or the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance
•    Personal Independence Payment
•    Attendance Allowance

How it works

The National Entitlement Card allows you to travel free on virtually all registered local and long distance bus services in Scotland. You can use it at any time of day. In some areas you may also get free or discounted train travel. If you need a companion to help you use public transport, your National Entitlement Card may allow them free travel too.

How to apply

The Transport Scotland website has information on how to apply and what evidence you need to provide.
To apply for a National Entitlement Card contact your local authority. You can find their details in the phone book or on the Transport Scotland website.

Wales

If you would be refused a driving licence

If you would be refused a driving licence because of your epilepsy, you are entitled to a Welsh concessionary travel card.

If you are on certain benefits

You are also entitled to a concessionary travel card if you receive certain benefits, including:
•    The higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance
•    Certain points on the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment. This is 8 or more points under Descriptor 7 or 12, or 12 points under Descriptor 11.

How it works

A concessionary travel card entitles you to free travel on registered local bus services throughout Wales. It can be used at any time of day. If you would be unable to travel without a companion, you may be entitled to a companion card. This allows you to take a companion with you free of charge.
The card also entitles you to free travel on certain train lines in Wales.

You can’t use your Welsh concessionary travel card in England. And you can’t use your English pass in Wales.

How to apply

To apply for a concessionary travel card contact Transport for Wales.

You will need to provide evidence that you are eligible for a concessionary travel card.

You can apply online or you can ask a friend, family member or someone you trust to apply online on your behalf. Online applications take around 15 working days to process.

Paper application forms are available to download or you can email your contact details to travelcards@tfw.wales. Paper applications take around 20 days to process.

Advice and support with the application process is also available from your local council and various community organisations. Find out where you can find help in your local area by contacting the help desk at travelcards@tfw.wales or call 0300 303 4240.

Northern Ireland

If you would be refused a driving licence

You are entitled to a Half Fare SmartPass if:
•    You are aged between 17 and 59, and
•    You have been, or would be refused a driving licence because of your epilepsy, or
•    You have had your driving licence revoked because of your epilepsy

If you receive Disability Living Allowance

You are entitled to a Half Fare SmartPass if:
•    You are aged between 16 and 59, and
•    You have been awarded the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance

If you receive Personal Independence Payments

You are entitled to a Half Fare SmartPass if:
•    You are getting the standard or enhanced mobility component of Personal Independence Payment

How it works

The Half Price SmartPass entitles you to half price standard adult fares on scheduled bus and rail services in Northern Ireland.
How to apply
•    In person, from any staffed Translink bus or rail station
•    By telephoning 028 9066 6630
•    By sending an email to smartpass@translink.co.uk. You should provide your name and full address, including post code

Epilepsy Action has a list of useful organisations for support with benefits.

Code: 
F134.06
Event Date: 
Friday 11 December 2015

This information has been produced under the terms of Epilepsy Action's information quality standards.

  • Updated April 2020
    To be reviewed April 2021

Comments: read the 7 comments or add yours

Comments

If you have a disabled plus1 bus pass does it prevent you from travelling alone

Submitted by Elaine Parker on

Hi Elaine

 

I have checked a couple of local authority websites and they say you can use your bus pass with or without your companion. But it is worth checking this with your own local authority to be sure. You can use the link in the “How to apply” section of our Free bus travel information above to do this.

 

Regards

Mags

Epilepsy Action Helpline

Submitted by Mags - Epilepsy... on

Hi,
This page needs updating as the Wales section is now out of date. This morning (17/9/19) I found out about 10am they are scrapping the existing disabled people's all-Wales bus and train pass on 31/12/19. All disabled passes and 60+/elderly (they have started introducing a sliding scale of ages for eligibility for the pass) passes, will stop working then. You have to get a new pass. Local authorities are no longer issuing the pass. Transport for Wales immediately took down their site as soon as it opened, as too many people were trying to renew their passes. They say you should download the form from their website and post it. Or go to your council transport department, or a post office, to complete the form with help. You may need to email them an ID photo file, or post them a passport photo with the form. The paper form requires ID and documents many no longer have. It's not clear how to handle complex cases as the website is down. I've written to them to complain, and for clarification. The jury is still out in different epilepsy groups on whether I have to yet again reapply for a driving licence and be turned down and refunded. I don't have the funds, or the documents/ID. I no longer have a listed valid person to countersign my photo. It's taken 7 hours of trying so far, to sort out, and I've got nowhere. Meanwhile the pass expires in 2.5 months but once it took the DVLA 3 months to sort out my forced application for a driving licence.

Submitted by Karl on

Hi Karl.

Thanks a lot for this information. I hope you are able to get your pass renewed. We will definitely look into this and update it as appropriate. We have a team in Wales so I will be in touch with them  to check their understanding of the situation too.

Regards

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by Cherry - Epilep... on

Hi Karl

We have now updated our information. Thank you for alerting us to this.

I understand the website is now up and running. And there is a phone number if you have further questions. I hope your renewal goes through smoothly.

Regards

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by Cherry - Epilep... on

Hi again,
My internet was down Monday and Tuesday 23-24 September. Library had trouble till Wednesday evening with it not working. Either the site being down or freezing, or crashing. Anyway on Wednesday after several goes the library managed to submit an application including an updated photo. However I've been told the probable wait is longer than 21 days due to all the demand. Wales has a lot of older or disabled people needing new bus passes all at once. On the plus side: The new pass will be valid till 2039. The library staff think the organisation will not ask for further information as I am making a renewal/replacement. NB: They confirmed that if I was making a new application or had lost/broken my existing pass, the new system would take much longer and require much more information than the old system did. However they did agree that the requirement of applying for a driving licence would be ridiculous. But they could not confirm if the pass being issued too early and not posted in time, would cause the old one to be cancelled and not work - leading to 3 weeks of total inability to travel. I said it was an apparent glitch with the whole system and I had tried to tell the TfW website people.
Now I have to wait for my pass and also for replies from TfW on my various questions. If they need me to apply for a driving licence, they had better do that soon, as the clock is ticking down! (Only way the old and new systems would accept proof of my epilepsy) The existing pass is not valid proof! Even though it was issued in 2002 specifically for having epilepsy, when the rules changed to include it. DRIVING LICENCE, FORCED APPLICATION, POTENTIAL: Trouble is, if I can scrape the fees together, I still have nobody valid to countersign the photo. If 'teacher' is on the list of approved professions, my best friend would have counted, as she's known me over 18 years and is not a co-habitant or a relative. Unfortunately the other week I heard she was a victim of the glorious Austerity Cuts (praise be! we can all eat air, 'for the good of the nation'!), and she has lost her job as a teacher. And in a double whammy, it is a blow to the disability community: she taught in the area of disability, and specialised in learning disabilities and dyslexia. All these things are being cut because apparently disabled people do not count as appropriate expenditure.
Bus pass: I just have to wait. This is not ideal for anyone who has to make a fresh application, has trouble proving their epilepsy or another disability, or has been told to apply for a driving licence.

Submitted by Karl on

Update! A long time later, more than the 20 days they said... I first asked again in August (old style pass) and officially applied (on hearing there was a new pass) in September... (AFTER the 2 year wait and hearing zilch from either council - old style pass)
They never wrote to say if my application was in the queue, when they say you will get a tracking code in an email. I never got one. Emails went unanswered or were dealt with by robotic phrases that had not dealt with the problems. Sometimes, though not answering my emails directly, they emailed me to vaguely ask for 'more information' (without specifying it).
Or they wrote back to me very late and said 'you should have completed the form on your own'. I said it was done at a council-run library in the official way of processing people, which I had checked. They didn't let you do it yourself anyway. They sometimes said I completed the form wrong, but would not specify. They kept asking for more evidence of disability but again were vague on what they wanted. Replies occasionally came where it was clear they'd not read or comprehended my emails. They would say 'send us the evidence' both before and after I explained I didn't have it or it no longer existed. At one point they told me to basically withdraw my application and reapply on paper, which would take several months longer, and required information I already told them I don't have.
That went on for weeks. In the end they suddenly emailed me, right as I was about to email them for being so long in replying. Despite not having sent me the tracking code, they suddenly told me they decided I qualify for a pass and they will be sending one soon, or at least processing it. They apologise for some of the 'confusion' etc.
In the last 2 days I saw 2 people with learning disabilities and one other disabled person apply for a pass. It is November so they might get their passes in January/February. Except passes expire on 31/12/19.
This morning I had a seizure and was so late for college, on entry they shouted at me and tried to stop me going in the classroom as they said it was 'being disruptive'. It was a confidence class so imagine how that made me feel. I explained it to my tutor when I disobeyed and went in anyway, but she kind of agreed with the other staff. People think epilepsy can be switched off when it is not convenient to have a seizure!
Hopefully I'll get my pass soon.

Submitted by Karl on

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