Travel can be expensive, especially if you rely on public transport to get around. If you’re registered disabled, there are a whole host of discounts and passes you can access to make life easier, and cheaper. These include bus passes and reduced train fees, allowing you to get more independence without breaking the bank.
If you live in England or Wales, then you could be entitled to a free bus pass. You will need to fit the eligible disabled criteria, which includes:
- Being partially sighted or blind
- Being without speech
- Being severely or profoundly deaf
- Having a learning difficulty
- Having no arms or having lost the long-term use in both arms
- Having suffered an injury or disability which has severely affected your ability to walk
To apply for a bus pass, simply contact your local authority. If you live in London, you can also access the Freedom Pass which allows you go on the capital’s wealth of transport, including buses, trams, trains and ferries, for free. If you live in Scotland, you can apply for a National Entitlement Card which allows you to access free bus travel.
For a bus pass in Northern Ireland you can get free travel if you’re blind or aged over 60. Meanwhile, if you are partially sighted, have a learning disability or are in receipt of the Disability Living Allowance, you can get your travel for half price with various operators. The Northern Ireland government website has more details on this.
If you’re looking for travel discounts on your rail journeys, then you’re in luck. Though finding a free ticket is a rarity, there are numerous options which offer cheaper prices. In England, Scotland and Wales you can buy a disabled persons railcard. Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland, you can apply for a SmartPass.
- Disabled Persons Railcard
This railcard allows you to get 1/3 off adult rail fares through Great Britain’s National Rail network. An additional perk is that you can also get 1/3 off the price for another adult travelling with you. There are also no time restrictions, so you can travel at any time of day without it affecting the discount.A small fee is charged when you apply, and you can expect to pay £20 for a one year card, and £54 for a three year card. Once you have the card, however, you can use it to get reduced prices for Standard and First Class Singles and Returns, London Travelcards, Caledonian Sleeper tickets and even Oyster Cards if you don’t already have a Freedom Pass.If you’re looking for a Stena Line or Red Funnel discount, then the Disabled Persons Railcard also works on some journeys, though it’s important you check with operators before you book your travel.
In Northern Ireland, you can get a SmartPass which offers discounted tariffs on various transport depending on your disability. If you’re over 65 or registered blind, you could get free travel on the region’s train network. Alternatively, 50per cent discounts are available for those in receipt of disability benefits, or if you have a learning disadvantage, cannot drive on medical grounds or are partially sighted.
Reductions for Road Charges
If you’re able to drive, or have a carer who regularly helps you get around, then you might be able to save a few pennies too. The Blue Badge parking permit allows you to park nearer to where you need to go, often with free parking attached. In addition, the Blue Badge means you can avoid paying the congestion charge for disabled people in London.
Anyone over the age of two years can apply for a Blue Badge if they’re registered blind, are receiving a Personal Independence Payment because they can’t walk more than 50 metres, receive a War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement or Disability Living Allowance, or have been given a lump sum benefit as part of the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces Compensation Scheme.
Not only does the Blue Badge Parking Permit offer more parking options, but it also provides a number of toll exemptions at tunnel, bridge and river crossings, though these need to be confirmed ahead of time. You can also avoid paying the congestion charge as long as you register with the appropriate borough. However, it’s important to note that some London boroughs, including City of Westminster, City of London, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and part of the London Borough of Camden, have their own rules.
- Congestion Charges
If you hold a Blue Badge Parking Permit, you can apply for a 100per cent discount even if you don’t drive or have a vehicle. This allows you to register two vehicles you regularly travel in, such as a carer’s car, for example. You need to download the application letter and send it off with a payment of £10 to qualify for the discount.
Enjoy More Travel for Less Money
Overall, there are many schemes you can enjoy to get discounted or even free travel. This not only offers independence in your everyday life, but provides a way for you to get out and enjoy leisure time with friends and family without worrying you cannot afford transport costs.