4. Using Your National Bus Pass
When are bus journeys free?
Bus journeys are free if:
- You show or scan your national bus pass and
- You are boarding a local bus in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead at any time or
- You are travelling anywhere else in England and are boarding a local bus during off-peak times.
Off-peak is defined as:
- 9.30am to 11pm Monday to Friday,
- all day at weekends and on public holidays.
Please check local conditions for travelling outside of the Royal Borough by contacting the relevant local authority.
How do I use my National Bus Pass when travelling in the Royal Borough?
You may travel for free of charge when starting your local bus journey in the Royal Borough at any time on any day.
You may board a Green Line service (route 702) in the Royal Borough at any time to make journeys as far as Bracknell in one direction and Langley in the other. For journeys to destinations beyond Langley (that is, to London) the pass may not be used on journeys which depart from Bracknell before 8am Mondays to Fridays. .
Reading Buses are operating this route. For more information please see the Reading Buses website.
How do I use my national bus pass outside the Royal Borough?
Slough and Bracknell
You may use your bus pass on local bus journeys starting in Slough between 9.30am-11pm Monday to Friday and any time on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
You may use your bus pass on local bus journeys starting in Bracknell at any time.
Please assume that you may only travel free of charge in the rest of England on local bus journeys starting between 9.30am-11pm Monday to Friday and all day at weekends and on public holidays. This is the national minimum (off-peak times). Time restrictions are applied strictly.
Local benefits to extend this time may only be available to people resident in those areas. However, it is worth checking with the relevant local authority in the area you are visiting before you travel.
If you have a Companion Bus Pass the national minimum applies but your companion may have to pay the full adult fare if the journey is started outside the Royal Borough.
Rest of UK
The national bus pass is only valid in England.
How do I use my bus pass?
Show your pass to the driver as you get on. If the bus is fitted with an electronic pass reader, touch the reader with your pass. This identifies that you are entitled to a free journey and records that the journey has been made.
If you are unsure, please ask the driver when boarding the bus.
Can I travel on any bus?
You can travel free of charge on local, off-peak bus services in England. Qualifying local bus services will be self-evident in most cases. They do not usually include services:
- where most seats can be reserved, as on coaches. Some longer distance buses and coach services are included where part of their route is registered as a local bus service (such as the Green Line),
- that run for less than six weeks, such as shuttle buses to special events,
- for tourists, such as open-top bus tours, or services on vehicles of historical interest,
- that are running instead of a train - 'rail replacement' services,
- where the fare includes 'extras', such as refreshments or car parking.
Other modes of transport (such as ferries, trains, tubes or trams) are also excluded.
The above list is not exhaustive but gives a guide to the main exemptions; if in doubt please check with the service operator or contact the local authority in which you will be travelling.