Why concessions are important
Scope estimates that households with at least one disabled adult or child face an extra £975 in living costs per month (Scope, 2023). We are also twice as likely to be unemployed (Department for Work and Pensions, 2023) and twelve percentage points more likely to live in poverty than non-disabled people (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2022). This means that, as well as incurring higher transport costs, disabled people have significantly less income to pay for it, making financial barriers even more prohibitive.
There are a range of national and regional schemes and concessions available across public transport and car use. There are also some benefits and entitlements to help with costs of personal mobility. However, our research suggests there are significant barriers to obtaining these, and they do not go far enough to adequately meet the extra costs we face.
Read more about financial barriers to transport and the work we’re doing to improve transport concessions.
Schemes you may be eligible for
There are many regional and local transport concessionary schemes across the country which aren’t listed here. Contact us for up to date information.
Disabled Person’s Bus Pass (granted under the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme)
The English National Concessionary Travel Scheme is run by the Department for Transport in conjunction with local authorities across England. Passengers aged over 65 and disabled passengers across England have been entitled to travel free of charge on any off-peak local bus service in England since 2007.
The scope of the schemes can vary depending on where you live. In some areas, such as Greater Manchester, local concession passes allow disabled people to travel for free on local buses, trams and trains (with some time restrictions depending on the pass held), but do not include the cost of a carer’s ticket. The MerseyRail pass for disabled people provides free travel on local buses, trams, trains and ferries, with no time restrictions. Elsewhere, East Sussex provide a carer pass for some companions of disabled people, but their local pass is for buses only and to travel at off-peak times. In London the scheme is known as the Disabled Persons Freedom Pass, and grants free travel on buses, the London Underground, the London Overground, DLR, trams, and most local rail services. Contact us for more detailed information about different areas.
If you are a disabled person, you can get a Disabled Person’s Bus Pass in England if:
- you’re blind or partially sighted, deaf or unable to speak
- you can’t walk very far because of a disability, illness or injury
- you don’t have arms or can’t use your arms
- you have a severe learning disability
- you’ve been refused a driving licence because of your health (but not because of problems with drugs or alcohol)
You need to check with your local council to find out who issues disabled bus passes in your area as part of the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme. You can do so by searching your postcode on the Government website for more details.
Disabled Persons Railcard
The Disabled Persons Railcard will entitle both you and an adult companion to one third off most rail fares throughout the UK. Currently, the charges are £20 for a single year or £54 for three years. Please note that if you are a wheelchair user or visually impaired, you may not need a railcard to receive a discount on National Rail – please see below.
You are automatically eligible if you:
- Are registered as having a visual impairment
- Are registered as deaf or use a hearing aid
- Have epilepsy
- Receive Attendance Allowance
- Receive Personal Independence Payments (PIP)
- Receive higher rate Disability Living Allowance at either: the higher rate or lower rate for getting around (mobility); or the higher or middle rate for help with personal care
- Receive Severe Disablement Allowance
- Receive War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement
- Receive War or Service Disablement Pension for 80% or more disability
- Are buying or leasing a vehicle through the Motability scheme
- You can apply for the Disabled Persons Railcard online
- You can also get a paper form from rail station ticket offices
- You will need to provide proof of your disability
- You will need to make payment at the time of application
- You will receive your railcard in the post once all the checks are complete, or you can get a digital card if you have a smart phone
Wheelchair users and registered visually impaired passengers do not need a Railcard to receive a discount on single fares and return fares. This applies to Anytime fares only. Sometimes, this discount can work out better than a discount offered by using your Railcard and also applies to a carer travelling with you.
To qualify for this discount:
- Wheelchair users must remain in their wheelchairs for the the journey
- Visually impaired people must be accompanied. You may also be asked to prove your visual impairment from a ‘recognised institution’.
Ask for a D50 or D34 ticket if the rail staff do not know which tickets to give you.
Disabled Persons Railcard holders may be able to get cheaper local fares. For example, Londoners can register a Railcard discount onto an Oyster card to get 1/3 off Oyster pay as you go single fares and daily caps on National Rail, London Underground and Docklands Light Railway services. You need to ask a member of staff at a London Underground, Overground or National rail station in London to set up the discount for you.
For more information:
Tel: 0345 605 0525
Access to work
Access to Work is a publicly funded employment support programme aiming to support disabled people to start or stay in work. Access to work provides financial support for people with long-term physical or mental health conditions.
Types of financial support you can get with transport to work:
- You can get money towards any extra travel costs to and from work if you can’t use available public transport, such as taxi fares if you cannot use public transport to get to work
- You can get money towards adapting your vehicle
- A wheelchair, scooter, or other mobility aid
- A support worker:
- A reader for somebody with a visual impairment
- A Communicator for a D/deaf person
- A Specialist job coach for a person with a learning disability
- A helper for personal care needs at work
- Specialist equipment (or alterations to existing equipment) to suit your particular needs
You can apply for Access to Work if you:
- are normally resident in, and working in the UK
- have a disability or long-term health condition that means you need an aid, adaptation or financial or human support to do your job
- have a mental health condition and need support in work
- are aged 16 or over
You must also:
- already be doing paid work
- be about to start work or become self-employed
- have an interview for a job
- be about to begin a work trial or start work experience under the Youth Contract arranged through Jobcentre Plus
You can apply for Access to Work online or by phone.
You’ll need to provide:
- your workplace address and postcode
- the name of a workplace contact who can authorise your Access to Work payments
- your workplace contact’s email address or work phone number
- your unique tax reference number (if you’re self-employed)
You’ll need to explain:
- how your condition affects you at work or getting to work
- what help you’re already getting
- what else could help you
- It will help your application if you’ve spoken to your employer about reasonable adjustments before you apply for Access to Work.
For more information:
Tel: 0800 121 7479
The Blue Badge scheme is a scheme that entitles disabled people to additional parking rights. You do not have to be a driver or own a car to obtain a Blue Badge. The scheme allows you to park closer to your destination if you are disabled.
You will automatically get a Blue Badge if you fulfil any of the following criteria:
- You receive 8 points or more under the “moving around” activity of the mobility component of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or have the higher rate for the Mobility component of Disability Living Allowance
- You are registered blind (severely sight impaired)
- You receive a War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement
- You have received a lump sum benefit within tariff levels 1-8 of the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces (Compensation) Scheme and have been certified as having a permanent and substantial disability which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking
- You receive the mobility component of PIP and have obtained 10 points specifically for descriptor E under the ‘planning and following journeys’ activity, on the grounds that you are unable to undertake any journey because it would cause you overwhelming psychological distress
- You are under 16 and have a letter confirming your eligibility from your visual impairment care team
- You are 16 or over and registered or certified as severely sight impaired
- You get the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance
- You get the Personal Independence Payment and scored:
- 8 points or more in the ‘moving around’ area of your assessment, and/or
- 12 points or more in the ‘planning and following a journey’ area of your assessment
- You get Personal Independence Payment and used to get the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance on an indefinite or lifetime basis
- You get Personal Independence Payment, used to get the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance, and your Personal Independence Payment decision is being appealed
- You get the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement
- You got a lump sum payment from tariffs 1 to 8 of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and have been certified as having a permanent and substantial disability
- You receive the Higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- You receive a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) at the following levels:
- 12 points for Planning and Following a Journey
- 8 points or more for moving around
- You receive the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme Tariff 1-8 (inclusive) and includes Permanent Mental Disorder under Tariff 6
- You receive the War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement
- You are registered blind or have a severe sight impairment
- You receive tariff level 6 of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme for a permanent mental disorder
Note: Please note that the application process for the Blue Badge differs for Northern Ireland. Please visit the Northern Ireland Government services website for information and application.
- You receive the higher rate of the mobility part of Disability Living Allowance
- You receive a War Pension Mobility Supplement
- You receive a benefit under the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces Compensation Scheme within tariff levels one to eight (inclusive) and have been certified by the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA) as having a permanent impairment which causes inability to walk or a lot of difficulty walking
- You are registered blind
- You receive eight points or more under the ‘moving around’ activity for the mobility part of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- You drive a vehicle regularly, have a severe disability in both arms and are unable to operate, or have a lot of difficulty operating, all or some types of parking meter
- You have a permanent disability which means you cannot walk or have a lot of difficulty walking – in this case your doctor may be asked to confirm your eligibility
People who may be issued with a badge after further assessment are those who are more than two years old and fall within one or more of the following descriptions:
- You drive a vehicle regularly, have a severe disability in both arms and are unable to operate, or have considerable difficulty in operating, all or some types of parking meters
- You have a permanent and substantial disability that causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking
- You find walking very difficult due to pain, breathlessness or the time it takes
- You have a terminal illness, which means you cannot walk or find walking very difficult and have a DS1500 form
- You are constantly a significant risk to yourself or others near vehicles, in traffic or car parks
- You struggle severely to plan or follow a journey
- You find it difficult or impossible to control your actions and lack awareness of the impact you could have on others
- You regularly have intense and overwhelming responses to situations causing temporary loss of behavioural control
- You frequently become extremely anxious or fearful of public/open spaces
In addition, children under the age of three may be eligible for a badge if they fall within either or both of the following descriptions:
- A child who, on account of a condition, must always be accompanied by bulky medical equipment which cannot be carried around with the child without great difficulty;
- A child who, on account of a condition, must always be kept near a motor vehicle so that, if necessary, treatment for that condition can be given in the vehicle or the child can be taken quickly in the vehicle to a place where such treatment can be given
Your council will assess your eligibility for a Blue Badge. They cannot start the assessment process until they have all the necessary evidence, which may take 12 weeks or more.
Blue badge holders are exempt from the congestion charge.
You can apply for the exemption on Transport for London’s website.
You can apply for or renew your Blue Badge online on the Government website. Some councils also let you apply on a paper form – please contact your local council to check.
If are applying under non-automatic eligibility criteria, you will need to fill out an additional part of the application form online. You will need to provide supporting evidence and explain on what grounds you are applying for a Blue Badge.
You will also need to provide a proof of ID and address, as well as your National Insurance Number.
The Motability Scheme
The Motability Scheme enables disabled people to use their mobility allowances to obtain a car, powered wheelchair or scooter plus insurance, servicing, tyre replacement, and breakdown cover. Adapted and wheelchair accessible vehicles are available.
Most Motability members choose to pay a monthly fee to hire a new car every three years with insurance, road tax, servicing, tyres and breakdown cover included. If you are accepted onto the scheme, you will be asked to pay all, or part, of your allowance to Motability for the period of the hire agreement.
Almost half of the customers on the Contract Hire Car Scheme simply transfer their allowance to Motability, for the period of the agreement, without any additional payment. However, if you opt for a large or expensive vehicle you may have to pay more. Motability may also be able to offer financial help to assist with such needs as the cost of the advance payment for a suitable car, adaptations, driving lessons or a wheelchair accessible vehicle.
You are eligible if you receive either:
- The Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- The Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
Please visit the contact page of Motability to find out more information about available vehicles, adaptations and services.
For more information:
Phone: 0300 456 4566
Specialist Minicom equipment users – textphone number on: 0300 037 0100
You can also speak to motability via BSL interpreter
How we can help you
Find out more about how our disabled-led advice service can help you.
Current laws and guidance
Here's an overview of the laws and regulations that exist to promote equal access to transport services for disabled people.
Learn more about the financial barriers to transport that disabled people face, and the cycle of transport poverty.