OLDER people won’t be entitled to free bus passes until they reach the state pension age under new Welsh Government plans to come into effect by 2022.

Under the current publicly-funded scheme, anyone from the age of 60 can travel for free on buses.

But Ken Skates, minister for economy and transport, has set out changes to the entitlement of such passes.


“We are proposing to gradually increase the age of entitlement to a concessionary pass over a number of years so as to eventually align with the state pension age,” he said in a statement.

Anyone who is 60 on or before April 2022 will be unaffected by the plans, he said.

“Incremental increases in the age of eligibility will mean that there will not be a sudden change," said Mr Skates.

“Those persons approaching 60 when the changes come into effect who expect to receive their pass at 60 will not have to wait until they reach state pension age to get one.

“With a gradual increase in the age of eligibility, those people will receive a pass before attaining the state pension age.”

Mr Skates said the changes are being introduced to “make sure the scheme is sustainable and fit for purpose for the future.”

Free pass holders represent around 47 per cent of total bus journeys in Wales and there are nearly three quarters of a million passes in circulation.

He added: “Projections indicate that the number of people eligible for free travel under the current scheme will be 880,000 by 2021 and over one million by 2030. This rise potentially puts the viability of the scheme at risk in the future.”

Residency requirements are also being changed, with those only with a “sole or principal” residence in Wales being eligible. Previously, permits were issues to anyone who had a residence in a Welsh local authority area.

Any person who currently holds a permit whose sole or principal residence is not in Wales will retain their pass until it expires.