Disabled Freedom Pass in London
By: Philippa Harrington, On: 15 September 2020
With a Disabled Person’s Freedom Pass, you can travel for free or get great discounts on public transport in London. It is a pass issued by Transport for London and enables you to travel for free at any time on buses, trams, tubes, London Overground, DLR and TfL Rail.
Interestingly, the hours you can travel with an Older Person’s Freedom Pass have changed to help lower crowding on public transport and promote social distancing during peak times. These changes do not apply to the Disabled Person’s Freedom Pass, meaning you will still be able to travel on TfL services for free at any time. Customers who previously held a Disabled Person’s Freedom Pass, but now use an Older Person’s one, may qualify for a new Disabled Person’s Freedom Pass if they need one. Contact your local authority to find out if this would be possible for you.
What are the criteria?
You can get a Disabled Person’s Freedom Pass if you have a qualifying disability and live in London. This means the city must be your ‘sole’ or ‘principal’ residence – in other words, you live there the majority of the time. You will need to provide proof of where you live when you apply.
The qualifying disabilities are as follows:
- Blind or partially sighted
- Profoundly or severely deaf
- Those without speech
- Disabilities, including injuries, that cause long-term, substantial inability to walk
- Those without arms or without the ability to use their arms
- Learning disabilities defined as “a state of arrested or incomplete development of mind including significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning”
- Anyone who would have an application for a driving licence refused under Section 92 of the Road Traffic Act (Physical Fitness)
In some circumstances, London Boroughs may issue a Disabled Person’s Freedom Pass to disabled individuals who do not meet these criteria. This is at the discretion of the local authority and will require special circumstances.
How do I apply?
If you believe that you meet the eligibility criteria and could be awarded a Disabled Person’s Freedom Pass, you will need to get in touch with your local authority for an application form. You can use this list to find the contact details of your borough and set the process in motion.
When you fill out the application, you will need to provide evidence of your eligibility and a passport-sized photograph. The full guidance will be written on your borough’s application form. If you need help filling out your form, ask friends, family, care workers or social workers to assist. There may also be options available from your local authority for more accessible forms, such as enlarged text.
Once your local council has assessed your application and confirmed your eligibility, they will create your Freedom Pass and issue it to you via second class post. Please do not visit London Council offices in person as they will be unable to assist with your enquiries regarding the Disabled Person’s Freedom Pass.
Using your Freedom Pass
If you are already familiar with using an Oyster Card, you will have a pretty good idea of how the Freedom Pass works. If you are travelling on buses or trams, you must touch in at the tram stop or once you board the bus. If you are travelling on any kind of train, you will need to touch in at the beginning of your journey and touch out at the end. Look for the yellow card readers on the station platforms to do this. Incidentally, some river services will give you a discount on your fare if you show your Disabled Person’s Freedom Pass when buying your ticket.
If you are travelling outside London, the rose symbol on the Disabled Person’s Freedom Pass means you can travel for free on local buses anywhere in England. This will qualify from 9:30 to 23:00 on weekdays and at any time at weekends or public holidays. The Freedom Pass will also qualify you for a discount on your fare for Emirates Air Line – simply show your pass when you by your ticket.
If you are eligible for a Disabled Person’s Freedom Pass then you are entitled to the benefits it provides. Take advantage of this resource by applying for a pass – get help from someone you trust if you need assistance filling out the form. Be advised that there could be changes to when you can use your Freedom Pass if the national situation with COVID-19 changes, so keep up-to-date on any developments if there is a second wave of the virus.