Older and disabled persons travel advice

Information about bus passes for older and disabled people

Information on using public transport if you use a wheelchair or a mobility scooter

Information for visually impaired customers

Information about orange travel wallets


Bus passes for older and disabled people

These are administered by Hertfordshire County Council as part of the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme to provide free bus travel for older and disabled people.

Bus passes can be used to travel at any time (peak and off-peak) when boarding a bus in Hertfordshire or the Central Bedfordshire Council area and off-peak (between 9.30am and 11pm) Mondays to Fridays and all day Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays across the rest of England. They are not valid for free travel in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

You can use your pass on most local bus services but there are some exceptions: You cannot use it on National Express and other long distance coach services, commuter coach services into Central London before 9:30am (Monday to Friday), excursions and tours, school and college services not operating as local buses, community transport and Dial-a-Ride services. National Rail, London Underground, London Overground, TfL Rail, Docklands Light Rail, tram and ferry services are also excluded.

Bus passes for older people

If you live in Hertfordshire (i.e. pay your council tax to a district/borough council within Hertfordshire) and have reached the female State Pension age (regardless of gender), you can apply for an older person’s bus pass. Your pension must be a UK pension and paid into a UK bank account to qualify.

Bus passes for disabled people

If you live in Hertfordshire (i.e. pay your council tax to a district/borough council within Hertfordshire) and you are disabled with one or more of the following disabilities, you can apply for  a disabled person’s bus pass. The disability must be long term or be expected to last for at least 12 months.

  • Blind (severely sight impaired) or partially sighted (sight impaired) (eligibility code A)
  • Profoundly or severely deaf (> 70 dB HL (Hearing Level) in both ears) (eligibility code B)
  • Without speech, unable to communicate orally in any language (not being able to make clear basic oral requests or ask specific questions to clarify instructions) (eligibility code C)
  • Disability, or has suffered an injury, which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on the ability to walk (eligibility code D)
  • Does not have arms or has long-term loss of the use of both arms (eligibility code E)
  • A learning disability which includes significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning (eligibility code F)
  • Would, if applied for a licence to drive a motor vehicle, have the application refused due to physical fitness i.e. epilepsy or severe mental health (excludes drug and alcohol abuse) (eligibility code G)

You can also ask for a companion bus pass if you qualify for a disabled bus pass and require significant help in boarding, moving around and getting on or off a bus. This enhancement is not available if you can travel alone, but only need a carer in other aspects of your life.

This will allow you to have a companion travel with you free of charge on journeys that start in Hertfordshire or Central Bedfordshire Council area, as long as they are travelling with you for the entire journey. If you get on a bus outside of the Hertfordshire or Central Bedfordshire Council area, then your companion will have to pay for their own travel. You are still allowed to travel free when you are alone, without a companion.

To qualify for Companion entitlement you must meet the disability eligibility and provide additional evidence unless you automatically qualify under eligibility code A or are a young person between the age of 5 and 15. Full details of eligibility can be found by following the links below or in the application booklet.

How to apply for the either of the passes?

You can either apply online or collect an application booklet from your local library, district/ borough council office, tourist information office, Intalink vehicle or One Stop Shop. For more information on the scheme, please visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/buspass.

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Wheelchair and mobility scooters

All operators are required to accommodate one wheelchair or suitable type of mobility scooter on buses that feature low floor, easy access entrances and a designated wheelchair space. 

Wheelchair and mobility scooters have priority over wheelchair spaces on all buses by law. All drivers and staff should take steps to request other passengers vacate designated wheelchair spaces where it is reasonable and possible, to allow a wheelchair and mobility scooters user access to the space. Unfortunately, due to capacity despite the operators efforts, they are unable to guarantee that a wheelchair space will be always available as it may already be occupied by a wheelchair user or the capacity on the bus might be exceeded.

Drivers are obligated to always assist wheelchair and scooters users to board the services in accordance with their legal obligations.

The low floor area on most services vehicles generally should have a shared bay for one wheelchair or scooter or up to two unfolded pushchairs. Some buses have a separate pushchair bay. 

If a wheelchair or scooter user wishes to board, pushchairs are required to be folded and stow it in the luggage facilities on the vehicle. 

A wheelchair or mobility scooter will not be allowed to board if the vehicle is full.

Most buses should have capability to accommodate a manual or electric wheelchair up to the standard reference dimensions of 120cm by 70cm, or a 3-4 wheeled Class 2 mobility scooter up to 100cm by 60cm wide with a turning circle of 120cm. 

Mobility scooters will only be carried on accessible buses that are fitted with a ramp and do not exceed the weight limit shown on the ramp. In rare cases, some operator’s ability to carry scooters may be affected by specific factors relevant to the scooter model or accessible bus (for full details you should contact the operator of the service you wish to use).

It is the passengers’ responsibility to ensure that their wheelchair or mobility scooter is safely positioned in the specially designated area without obstructing or blocking any exit or the gangway.

Detailed guidance on accessing services with a wheelchair, a disabled buggy or an approved mobility scooter should be available on the operators’ websites.

You can find the website addresses for each operator on our Partners page.

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Visually Impaired Customers

All operators across the Hertfordshire are working to improve their fleet and adapt it to be suitable to serve customers with various disabilities.

Bus stopping displays and colour-contrasting handrails are fitted on most services around Hertfordshire.

The route number and destination display on vehicles should meet minimum standards of size and legibility of lettering as well as where they are located on the vehicle.

Audio-visual ‘next stop’ announcements are provided on some services and the operators are working to get as much of their fleet to be upgraded with this technology. For example, Arriva’s Sapphire buses (services 100/101 and 320) as well as Uno’s Dragonfly services (610, 611 and 612) are fitted with audio-visual next-stop announcements.

Bus drivers are required to stop the bus at any stop where a visually or hearing-impaired person with an assistance dog is waiting. If there is no technology available on the service to support your disability, the driver will assist the boarding by telling the passenger the bus route and destination details and will communicate in a way that is appropriate to your disability. You can help with providing the driver with your preferred method of communication. If necessary, they can open the cab screen to make it easier.

The driver will assist you if you find it difficult to pay the fare (by sorting out the right coins or scanning your pass on the ticket machine) and give you directions on how to avoid any obstacles while you are getting on, off or whilst on the bus. The bus will always remain stationary until you are seated. To help you get off the bus on the right stop, please ask the driver during boarding to let you know when the bus reaches your required destination.

Assistance dogs are accepted on all services free of fares, including those accompanied by registered Puppy Walkers and Guide Dog Trainers. Please show the dog ID book to the driver whilst boarding the bus. Drivers will assist in directing you to the most suitable place to sit with your dog such as the priority seating to ensure that your dog does not block the aisle.

CPT (Confederation of Passenger Transport) Journey Assistance Card scheme provides cards with a range of messages to make bus drivers aware of any specific requirements you might have. Those with hidden disabilities might find this scheme especially useful. Cards can be obtained through contacting operator’s Customer Services. Just show the card to the driver whilst boarding the vehicle. Please keep in mind, that the cards are not a ticket to travel, but when presented to the driver they will indicate your specific requirements. 

Further information on Journey Assistance Cards can be found on Traveline (0871 200 22 33; www.traveline.info) and via CPT website (0207 240 3131; email [email protected]; or visit www.cpt-uk.org). Some operators also have a specific page dedicated to the cards (for example for Arriva or First Bus).

You can also download your form and instruction on how to receive a card.

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Orange travel wallets

If you have a learning disability, a physical disability or hearing/sight loss an orange travel wallet will let bus drivers know what assistance you need when travelling on the bus.

You can make cards to keep in your travel wallet and show these to the bus driver to show what help you might need or where you're going.

Your cards might include:

  • emergency contact information
  • assistance you need – for example: "I'm deaf, please look at me when you speak."
  • where you want to travel to.

A travel wallet is bright orange and has plastic pockets inside. You can keep everything together that helps you use the bus on your own.

For more information relating to the wallet, a full Easy Read guide and how to apply visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/orangetravelwallet or phone the Support Team on 01438 845016. 

Travel wallets are free.

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