Bus passes - frequently asked questions

General guidance about the use of bus passes for concessionary travel in Oxfordshire.

What will my bus pass look like?

The pass is a standard national design. It contains a microchip, which stores information electronically. It will look like a credit card and includes your name and photograph:

Sample bus pass
 

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How do I use my pass?

On most buses you just need to place your pass close to or on the smart card ticket machine beside the driver. When the machine recognises the pass as valid, it will ‘beep’ once and a light on the machine will change from amber to green. Your card doesn’t have to be taken out of any holder you may have put it in to be read by the ticket machine although the driver can still ask to see it to make sure it’s your pass.

If you travel on a bus without a smart card ticket machine, please show your pass to the driver. The driver will press a button to record your journey and may issue you with a nil value ticket.

How to replace a stolen pass 

If your pass has been stolen you will need to request a replacement. We recommend you report this to the Police. You will be issued with a crime reference number. If you have a valid crime reference number we will replace your pass for free. If you don't have a valid number, you will need to pay a £10 replacement card fee.

The fastest way to let us know about your stolen bus pass is to call the Concessionary Transport Team on 0845 310 1111. You can also request and pay for a replacement bus pass online, in person or by post. When contacting us ensure you know your crime reference number.

How to replace a lost pass

If you have lost your bus pass there is a £10 fee for issuing a replacement pass. This is non-refundable. The fastest way to let us know about your lost bus pass is to call the Concessionary Transport Team on 0845 310 1111. You can also request and pay for a replacement bus pass online, in person or by post.

We will ask you some questions to validate you are the card holder. If you do not have the reference number available we will require a payment of £10 which you can pay by sending us a cheque or postal order. We will then cancel your existing card and request a new card for you. Your new card will be produced and sent out to you within five working days via 1st class post.

Requesting a replacement pass

Online is a fast route for replacing your bus pass and it will be sent to you via Royal Mail 1st Class post within 5 working days.

By post

Apply for a replacement pass by sending a concessionary fares application form (pdf format, 57KB) and a £10 cheque or postal order made payable to 'Oxfordshire County Council' to:

Oxfordshire County Council, ENCTS, PO Box 842, Oxford OX1 9LL

Using this method will mean that it will take longer for your replacement pass to reach you.

In person

You can take a concessionary fares application form (pdf format, 57KB) along with payment at one of the following libraries:

This method will mean that it will take longer for your replacement pass to reach you.

While waiting for a replacement pass

While you are waiting for your replacement bus pass we are unable to offer temporary bus passes or refund the costs of travel. If you require bus travel during the period you are waiting for your bus pass please contact your local bus company for details of weekly season tickets, fares and routes.

Please be aware that if you pay by cheque there may be a delay due to our banking processing. If your cheque does not clear, we will contact you to chase payment and may cancel the reissued pass until payment is made.

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My pass is faulty, what do I do?

If the smart card ticket machine does not accept your pass, you will need to order a replacement pass. If the pass is not visibly damaged, then we will replace it for free, but you will need to come and visit us at a main library location (see above for a list) for us to verify this.

You will need to complete a paper application form to request a replacement pass. When you apply for a replacement pass you do not need to submit another photo or any evidence of age, residency or disability.

If your pass is visibly damaged or defaced, we will make a £10 administration charge. Please make your cheque payable for £10 to 'Oxfordshire County Council' and send it with your application form to our Customer Service Centre, clearly writing your name, contact details and postcode on the reverse of the cheque.

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Do you offer any alternatives to a bus pass?

We do not offer any alternatives to the off-peak bus pass. In the past district councils in Oxfordshire have offered travel tokens or contribution to a Railcard as an alternative to passes. If you have any existing tokens they may still be valid. To find out you will need to check with your district council.

As of 1 April 2012 we will not be offering any of these additional discretions as Government funding for the scheme has been cut.

What should I do when my bus pass is due to expire?

Older Person’s Bus Pass

Your bus pass is valid for up to five years. You will automatically receive a replacement bus pass, sent from our system two weeks before your current bus pass expires. Please contact us if your pass is due to expire within seven days and you have not yet received a replacement.

It is your responsibility to inform us if your address changes before your new card is sent out. If you fail to inform us in time you may be subject to a £10 adminstration charge to cover the cost of reissuing the pass.

Disabled Bus Pass

Unless you provided suitable evidence to prove that your disability is permanent, your pass will not be automatically renewed. You will need to reapply for your bus pass, and submit proofs where required, as per a new application.

If you are eligible for an auto-renewable pass you will receive your replacement bus pass, sent from our system two weeks before your current bus pass expires.

Companion Bus Pass

Unless you provided suitable evidence to prove that your disability is permanent, your pass will not be automatically renewed. You will need to reapply for your bus pass, and submit proofs where required, as per a new application.

If you are eligible for an auto-renewable pass you will receive your replacement bus pass, sent from our system two weeks before your current bus pass expires.

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What should I do with my old pass?

When you receive a new bus pass, you should destroy your old bus pass once it has expired. If you try to use your new bus pass while your current one is still active, it will not work.

How long will it take you to process my pass?

It will take up to 15 working days provided all photos and proofs have been received. If any proofs, photos or details are unacceptable or missing from your application it will be returned to you and you will have to correct any errors and resubmit the form.

Should an application require additional information, such as from a doctor, a further delay may be expected. Please note that it is your responsibility to provide any further information that may be required to complete your application.

What happens if any of my details change?

If you change your name, significantly change your appearance or move either inside or outside of the Oxfordshire area you must notify us immediately.

If you move out of the county your pass should be returned to Oxfordshire County Council. You will need to re-apply for a pass to your new local authority.

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What does off-peak travel mean?

You can travel anytime between 9am and midnight (as from 1 April 2012) Monday to Friday, and at any time on weekends and bank holidays.

Where can I travel with my bus pass?

You can travel anywhere in England on local buses during off-peak hours. Companion Bus Pass holders may not be entitled to free travel outside Oxfordshire.

Will I be able to enjoy free travel everywhere within the UK?

No. The pass only applies in England, not in Scotland, Wales or Ireland.

Is the pass only valid on buses?

Yes, as a general rule. The pass is for use on local bus services only, not scheduled coach services, ferries, trains or trams, or some community transport schemes. However, some exceptions do apply – you will need to check with the authority responsible for the county you are travelling in.

Can I use my bus pass on Park and Ride buses?

Yes, you can use your bus pass to travel on the Oxfordshire Park and Ride services. You will have to pay for parking at all of the Park and Ride car parks. More information.

If I visit an area that offers additional services, like free travel on trains, or trams or travel outside the standard operating hours, will I be entitled to them?

This depends on the policy of the Local Transport Authority in the area in which you intend to travel. Please contact them for detailed information.

I don’t live in London, but I do travel in London. Will I be able to enjoy the same benefits as a London Freedom Pass holder when I am there?

No. Within London, your pass can be used only on buses. Unlike London’s freedom pass scheme, your pass will not be accepted on trams, the Tube, Docklands Light Railway, London Underground or National Rail.  However in London your pass will be accepted on buses at the same times as Freedom Passes - 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Where can I get bus timetables?

Bus timetables are available from Traveline. Telephone 0871 200 2233 for details or visit www.travelinesoutheast.org.uk.

Do all local authorities allow travel from 9am to midnight?

No. Government funding for Oxfordshire County Council to run the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme has been significantly reduced. However, we took the decision to fund extended operating hours from 1 April 2012. This means that from 1 April 2012 passes will be accepted from 9am to midnight, Monday to Friday and all day at weekends and on bank holidays.

Many operators also offer further travel discounts for people who are elderly, disabled or unemployed, as well as to students and children. For further details on all of these schemes (including  multi-journey passes) please contact the individual operator.

For rail travel, various railcards are available: the Senior railcard, the Disabled person's railcard and the 16-25 railcard.

 

Last reviewed
22 November 2012
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