Background: Kent County Council (KCC) manages the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme (often also referred to as Older People’s Bus Passes) for Kent residents on behalf of central government. There are currently approximately 250,000 ENCTS pass-holders in Kent, who qualify either on the basis of age or disability.
Passes are issued for five years with an expiry date at the end of March, regardless of which month in the year the pass was originally issued. As a legacy of the commencement of the scheme, every five years there is a significant peak in renewals.
In March 2023 there are 140,000 passes that reach their natural expiry.
The approach KCC takes is ‘Intelligent Auto-Renewals’ i.e. not asking all pass holders re-apply but re-issuing a pass automatically if it has been used in the year before expiry.
Where passes have not been used, we write to the pass holder offering them the opportunity to renew their pass through a simple online or free post process.
Passholders who qualify on grounds of disability are asked to re-evidence their entitlement. This is because some passes are issued on the grounds of temporary disability. However, we are updating the process after this renewal so that those with permanent disabilities will not need to do this again once they have re-evidenced this time.
In all cases we will contact passholders directly either with their new pass or with instructions on how to renew. Passholders do not need to do anything prior to receiving their new pass or letter unless they have moved since they received their existing pass. In this case, they need to let us know their new address. Details of how to do this can be found at www.kent.gov.uk/buspass.
The scheme is a statutory scheme which gives eligible passholders access to services across the UK, not just in Kent. As such, the issue of a pass does not take account of changes to local bus services.
Process and timelines
Letters for those whose pass will not automatically renew will be sent in late January and February.
Bus Passes will be sent out in batches by District in February and early March.
Passholders do not need to contact us unless they have moved since they received their existing pass. Details of how to let us know they have moved can be found at www.kent.gov.uk/buspass.
Older person passes used within the previous year:
Automatically renewed – the pass will be sent by post.
Older person passes not used within the previous year:
Passholders will be sent a letter inviting them to renew and giving them a choice of doing so online or by free post.
Disabled person’s passes:
All disabled person passholders with March 2023 expiry will be sent a letter inviting them to renew and giving them a choice of doing so via online or free post.
The approach adopted is well established, understood and well-rehearsed between ourselves and our delivery partners and as such no operational issues are expected.
More information and contact details