There are many types of concessions for seniors wishing to travel, locally, nationally and internationally. They make journeys quite cheap and feasible, even long ones, and they’re available on almost every type of transport.
The situation with local bus travel varies from authority to authority, with no national standard. However, most people over the age of 60 are eligible for a card offering half-fare or even free travel on local buses. Check with your local bus company. Many also offer National Transport Tokens as an alternative to bus passes. Unlike bus passes, these tokens (in 20p, 50p, and £1 coins) are usable at any time for payment of fares on many different types of public transport service approved by your Council. 2000 local authorities nationwide now accept National Transport Tokens on public transport services.
London residents can qualify for a Freedom Pass if over the age of 60 or with an eligible disability. The freedom pass enables you to travel free on London’s public transport which includes: buses, Tube, trains, Docklands Light Railway and trams.
For those who travel nationally by coach, National Express offers fare reductions of up to 50% for those 60 and over. These are available on normal adult fare journeys at any day of the week except Fridays. However, during July and August, both Fridays and Saturdays are exempt from the half-price offer. On those days, you automatically qualify for a discounted fare of up to 30% off (the level of discount is dependent on the route used). These reductions are all dependent on you booking in advance; if you buy a ticket on the day of travel, you qualify for a discounted fare of up to 30%.
Those over 60 are eligible for a Senior Railcard. This costs £26 for a year, or £65 for three years, and saves you one-third on all tickets. That means if you take several rail journeys over the course of a year, you can save money. However, you should also be aware that many rail companies offer special fares at different times of the year, dependent on when in the day you travel. You need to check the individual rail company’s web site to be aware of the offers available, as they can make travel a very cheap proposition.
A number of ferry companies offer reduced rates for those over state retirement age, others for those over 60. Scotland in particular is excellent with senior ferry discounts, and for those planning a holiday there, the Freedom of Scotland Travelpass offers a very good deal. A fixed price lets you travel around the country by train, coach or ferry with few limitations, and a 33% discount on the pass for seniors.
Airline discounts for seniors often go unadvertised. However, several do offer them. In some instances you have to be 60, in others 65, to qualify, and they can extend to include a travelling companion on the same flight. In this instance, your best bet is to consult your travel agent, who will have details. Be advised, though, that this is mostly for international travel. If you’re flying within the U.S. you’ll find that many airlines offer senior discounts. However, for internal U.K. flights they seem very difficult to discover.