UK Transport Wiki
Freedom Pass
LocationGreater London
TechnologyMIFARE / ITSO
ManagerLondon Councils
ValidityLondon Underground
 London Buses
 London Overground
 National Rail
VariantsOlder people

Freedom Pass is a concessionary travel scheme, which began in 1984, to provide free travel to residents of Greater London, England who are aged 60 and over (eligibility age increasing by phases to 65 by 2020) or who have a disability. The scheme is funded by local authorities and coordinated by London Councils. Originally the pass was a paper ticket, but since 2004 it has been encoded onto a contactless smartcard compatible with Oyster card readers.


The scheme was created in 1984 by the Greater London Council, although there had been concessionary bus fare schemes in London before that. When the council was abolished in 1986, responsibility for the scheme passed to the London borough councils. The cost of providing the travel concession is negotiated between London Councils and the local transport operator Transport for London. It is funded through a mixture of national grant and council tax. In 2007 there was a dispute between the Mayor of London and London Councils on the negotiation process, in particular the ability for the Greater London Authority to impose a charge should no agreement be reached.[1][2]


London residents who turned 60 before 6 April 2010 are eligible for a pass. From then the qualifying age increases in a graduated way, until it becomes 65 in 2020[3].

Disabled residents under 60 are assessed to determine if the degree of disability requires a pass. In early 2010 the responsibility for judging the degree of disability passed to local councils, and there were complaints of people who had been assessed as needing a pass for many years not having their passes renewed although their condition had not improved[4][5].

From the Freedom Pass FAQs[3]: "Disabled persons Freedom Passes are issued through your local borough council. The councils follow the criteria set out by the Transport Act 2000 which outlines the 7 categories of disability used to assess eligibility for a Freedom Pass. Local councils may at their discretion in exceptional circumstances issue passes to disabled people that do not meet these criteria."

According to section 146 of the Act "disabled person” means a person who[6]

  1. is blind or partially sighted,
  2. is profoundly or severely deaf,
  3. is without speech,
  4. has a disability, or has suffered an injury, which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to walk,
  5. does not have arms or has long-term loss of the use of both arms,
  6. has a learning disability, that is, a state of arrested or incomplete development of mind which includes significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning, or
  7. would, if he applied for [a driving licence], have his application refused [on grounds of physical fitness] otherwise than on the ground of persistent misuse of drugs or alcohol

Scope and validity[]

The Freedom Pass is valid at all times on London Underground, London Overground, Bus, Tram, and Docklands Light Railway services in Greater London (until January 2009 the pass was only valid from 9:30 on weekdays, excluding morning rush-hour travel[7]).

It is accepted at most times on many rail services in and outside Greater London that are within London fare zones 1-9.[8]

Outside Greater London the card can be used in England (but not Scotland or Wales) wherever and whenever the English National Concessionary Bus Travel Scheme applies, and allows free travel on any local bus route; while some operators may extend validity, travel on working days before 9:30 and after 23:00 is not otherwise included.

Passes issued after 4 January 2010 are valid until 31 March 2015Template:Update after[9].


On most National Rail services only passes issued because of disability rather than age can be used between 04:30 and 09:30 on working days.[10]

The Freedom Pass is not valid even for local travel on many longer distance rail services and those serving Gatwick and Heathrow airports. Up-to-date information, which changes from time to time, is available on the TfL website[11]

The pass is not valid on intercity coach services

See also[]



  1. An open letter to Londoners on Freedom Pass. London Councils (9 May 2007). Retrieved on 31 December 2009.
  2. Mayor of London (5 May 2007). Londoners join fight to defend the Freedom Pass. Greater London Authority. Retrieved on 31 December 2009.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Freedom Pass FAQs
  4. BBC news: Freedom Pass taken off woman with learning disabilities, 14 May 2010
  5. Hounslow Chronicle: Brentford woman 'not deaf enough' for free travel, 13 May 2010
  6. Transport Act 2000 (c. 38), Section II continued
  7. Mayor of London (18 December 2008). Greater freedom to travel for the elderly. Greater London Authority. Retrieved on 31 December 2009.
  8. Freedom Pass: Travel Map. London Councils (13 December 2009). Retrieved on 31 December 2009.[dead link]
  9. Freedom Pass: Renewing. London Councils. Retrieved on 28 January 2010.
  10. Freedom Pass: Exceptions map. London Councils. Retrieved on 31 December 2009.
  11. TfL: When and where you can use your pass

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