Bus passes - frequently asked questions

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

Time restrictions reinstated Monday 15 June

The temporary arrangement agreed that ENCTS passes can be used on all journeys, including those before 9am on Mondays to Fridays will end on Sunday 14 June.

From Monday 15 June times of travel for all ENCTS pass holders will revert to the times stated in the Oxfordshire Travel Scheme 2020/2021. The scheme allows all ENCTS pass holders to use all eligible services starting anywhere within the Oxfordshire County Council boundary between 9am to midnight on Monday to Friday and anytime Saturday and Sunday.


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.

My pass has been cancelled

A pass may be cancelled for different reasons. It might an old or expired pass, it’s been reported lost or stolen, or you are no longer entitled to concessionary travel.

If your pass has been cancelled, you will need to contact the number shown on the back of your pass. 

If your pass was issued by Oxfordshire County Council you can email freebuspass@oxfordshire.gov.uk or call 0345 310 1111.

Alternatively, you could visit one of the libraries listed below, who can assist you with your pass a replacement pass. They can validate documents required for your application or advise you on how to make an application.

You will need to take with you proof of identity and proof of address (no more than twelve months old).

How to replace a stolen pass

If your pass has been stolen, we will issue a replacement free of charge if you have a valid crime reference number. Reporting a non-urgent crime. If you don't have a valid number, you will need to pay a £10 replacement card fee.

Replace a stolen pass.

How to replace a lost pass

If you have lost your bus pass there is a £10 fee for issuing a replacement pass.

Request a replacement bus pass.

Requesting a replacement pass

Request and pay for a replacement bus pass online

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

In person

You can take payment and proof to 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.

My pass is faulty, what do I do?

If the smart card ticket machine does not accept your pass you will need to come and visit us at a main library location (see list under ‘requesting a replacement pass) for us to check for any damage. If the pass is not visibly damaged we will replace it for free but if there are signs of damage there is a charge of £10 which can be paid at the library.

Once the request for a replacement has been received, a new pass will be sent to you within 5 working days from the suppliers.

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.

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 administration charge to cover the cost of reissuing the pass.

Oxfordshire County Council will not refund bus pass fares incurred while applications for new or replacement passes are being processed.

Disabled Bus Pass

Depending on the nature of your disability, will depend on the length of issue of your pass.

It is your responsibility to check the expiry date of your pass and to contact us to request a renewal. 

We do not automatically renew disability passes.

To renew your bus pass, you will need to call 0345 310 11 11 and provide new medical evidence to ensure you still meet the eligibility criteria. You do not need to reapply.

If the evidence of a disability that you provide shows an end date, we will issue you with a disability pass to cover the period until that date.

Oxfordshire County Council will not refund bus pass fares incurred while applications for new or replacement passes are being processed.

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.

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.

When can I use it and what does off-peak travel mean?

You can use the pass any day, but there are restrictions on the times of travel that the DfT have set. Within Oxfordshire you can use your pass during the following times:

  • Monday to Friday 9am - 12am (midnight)
  • Saturday - anytime 
  • Sunday - anytime 
  • Bank Holidays - anytime

For any routes/areas outside Oxfordshire please check with the local bus operator.

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

If you have moved out of Oxfordshire, you will need to re-apply with your new local authority. You can use your Oxfordshire bus pass until you have received your new pass. You will need to call us on 0345 310 1111 so we can cancel your Oxfordshire bus pass.

If you have moved into Oxfordshire, please complete a bus pass application and notify your previous local authority of the move.

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

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 is on our Park and Ride pages.

I need to change my pass - is there a fee?

If you hold a current bus pass and need to change your bus pass there will be a fee of £10.00.

For example, if you have an age-related pass and want to request a disability bus pass before your current pass expires it will cost £10. This also applies if you have a valid disability bus pass and request for the companion enhancement to be applied to your bus pass.

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.

Does the pass work in London?

Within London, your pass can only be used on buses. Your pass will not be accepted on trams, Docklands Light Railway, London Underground or National Rail.

Concessionary bus passes from outside London

If you're from outside London and have a bus pass issued by another English council, you can use it to travel free on buses displaying the red roundel (the red emblem).

You should show your pass to the driver; at the moment they can't be read by the yellow card readers. If the bus you're on doesn't display the red roundel, check with the driver if you can use it.

Where can I get bus timetables?

Bus timetables are available from Traveline - www.travelinesoutheast.org.uk.

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.