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Scotland Wide Free Bus Travel for Older and Disabled People

Anyone aged 60 and over, and eligible disabled people, are entitled to free bus travel anywhere in Scotland provided they have applied for, and received, the new National Entitlement card.

In Aberdeen City, as we already have a local Accord Card Scheme smartcard that gives access to local services, the National Entitlement card and Accord card have been combined on the one card. The one card is designed visually and technically to ensure you get access to the national scheme as well as the local uses of the card. The card has the Accord branding on one side, and the National Entitlement card (and free bus travel logo) on the other side.

Should you require any further clarification on any aspect of the application process or the qualifying conditions, please do not hesitate to contact any of the customer access points given below.  They will be able to assist with any questions or queries you may have.

Making an Application

Applications for the Accord card can be made at any of the following offices, at the times specified:

Alternatively, you can request an application form to be sent to you by emailing your request to the following address: accordhelp@accordaberdeen.co.uk.  Please state in your email if the applicant is under or over 60 years of age. More information can be found on the Accord Card Apply for free bus travel page.

In support of your application you must also provide the following information:

  • a recent passport-type colour photograph (taken within the last year); and,
  • Proof of your residency in Aberdeen City; and, 
  • Proof of your age; or,
  • Proof of your disability.

Full details of acceptable documentary evidence are as follows:

Proof of residency in Aberdeen City

  • Council Tax bill (current financial year)
  • Utility bill (e.g. gas, electric, or land line phone bill – within last 3 months)
  • Bank statement (within last 3 months)
  • Television licence
  • Letter from residential card home
  • Letter from Aberdeen City council showing your name and address

Please note: When providing the above evidence, it must state your name and address.

Proof of age

  • Birth certificate
  • Passport
  • Photo driving licence
  • Attendance Allowance award letter

Proof of Disability

  • Anyone with epilepsy who has had a seizure within the past 12 months and: does not hold a current driving licence (license refused or revoked on medical grounds), or, has never had a driving licence, and, would be refused a driving licence on medical grounds if they applied for one.
    Evidence – Completed Transport Scotland form NCT003.  This must be completed by your hospital consultant confirming you meet the criteria and is available from any of the offices stated above or by calling the Accord office (0845 3452789).
  • In receipt of higher rate of the mobility component of the disability living allowance.   
    Evidence - The original award letter from DWP or confirmation of award on form DBD 384 stating that the applicant is in receipt of higher rate of the mobility component of DLA. The award date must not have expired).
  • In receipt of the higher or middle rate of the care component of the disability living allowance. 
    Evidence - the original award letter DWP or confirmation of award on form DBD 384 stating that the applicant is in receipt of higher or middle rate of the care component of DLA. The award date should not have expired.
  • In receipt of a mobility supplement under article 26A of the Naval, Military and Air Forces etc. (Disablement and Death) Service Pensions Order 1983( ) including such a supplement by virtue of any scheme or order under article 25A of the Personal Injuries (Civilians) Scheme 1983( ).
    Evidence - an award letter or letter of confirmation from the Veterans Agency stating that the applicant is in receipt of the mobility supplement of the Naval, Military and Air Forces (Disablement and Death) Service Pension.
  • Your vehicle is licensed in the ‘disabled’ taxation class.
    Evidence - either the V11 vehicle licensing reminder from DVLA showing the ‘disabled’ taxation class; or form DLA 404 from DWP confirming receipt of higher rate mobility component of disability living allowance.
  • You have a disabled person’s parking badge issued in accordance with the Disabled Persons (Badges for Motor Vehicles) (Scotland) Regulations 2000( ) – also commonly known as a Blue Badge.
    Evidence – you should produce your Blue Badge which should confirm your name.
  • If you have been certified as blind or partially sighted and in consequence are registered as blind or partially sighted in a register maintained by or on behalf of a council constituted under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1994( ) – i.e. the Grampian Society for the Blind
    Evidence – registrations certificate from the Blind Society confirming you are registered as blind or partially sighted.
  • If you have been refused a driving licence, or had your licence revoked, as you would fail to meet the eyesight standard as defined in section  96(1) of the Road Traffic Act 1988( ).
    Evidence – correspondence from the Drivers Medical Branch at DVLA, letter numbers D206, D235, D220 or NS57 stating that you have failed to meet the required eyesight standards as defined in Section 96(1) or the Road Traffic Act 1988. 
  • If you are profoundly deaf (95+ dBHLs) or severely deaf (70 -94 dBHLs) you will be eligible to enter the Scotland-wide Free Bus Scheme. 
    Evidence - An Audiologist Written Report stating you are profoundly or severely Deaf  or confirmation of registration as Profoundly Deaf or Severely Deaf with a Society for the Deaf.)
  • Individuals who have made applications for a first provisional licence; to renew an expired licence; or for a duplicate or exchange licence and declared a medical condition, or,
    Individuals who currently hold a driving licence and notify the DVLA of a change in their health, and, in both cases, subsequent medical investigations confirm that they are unable to meet the fitness standards required to drive and they have their applications refused or their licenses revoked.
    Evidence – Refusal of application letter or notification of your driving licence being revoked from DVLA (reference number D206, D235, D220 and NS57) Note: Persons who have had their driving licence refused or revoked for persistent misuse of drugs and /or alcohol are excluded from applying under this category.
  • If you are under the legal age to apply for a licence, but if you did apply for a licence to drive a motor vehicle under Part III of the Road Traffic Act 1988, would have your licence application refused pursuant to section 92 of that Act (physical fitness) otherwise than on the grounds of persistent misuse of drugs or alcohol.
    Evidence – confirmation of medical condition and inability to meet the fitness standards required to hold a UK driving licence, from your General Practitioner.
  • You may also qualify if your ability to travel is impaired by a mental disorder which has persisted for more than a year and you are required to travel to keep health or social care appointments or participate in activities as part of a treatment, care or rehabilitation programme
    Evidence - You must produce a fully completed Transport Scotland NCT002 Certificate, available from us, completed by a Qualified Professional (as detailed below) and demonstrating that your ability to travel is impaired by your condition. Persons who cannot demonstrate that they need to travel as described above this will not be eligible under this category even if they are covered by the definition of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003. 
    NOTE: A Qualified Professional for the purpose of this category is: Psychiatrist; Community Psychiatric Nurse; Educational Psychologist; Head Teacher of a Special Needs School; Occupational Therapist; Mental Health Officer; Social Care Manager.
  • If you are diagnosed as terminally ill or with a progressive degenerative condition in so far as such condition severely impedes your mobility and ability to carry out day to day activities may also qualify for free bus travel.
    Evidence -  Depending on your needs arising from the condition, people in this category may be in receipt of higher rate of the mobility component of the disability living allowance or the higher or middle rate of the care component of the disability living allowance.  Alternatively they should have a copy of a DS1500 report or Hospice admittance letter confirming their condition and admittance to that Hospice registered on a Scottish Hospice Register.
  • If you have lost one of the following: one or both lower limbs, one lower limb and one upper limb or both upper limbs.
    Evidence – higher rate of the mobility component of the disability living allowance or the higher or middle rate of the care component of the disability living allowance. Alternatively written confirmation from the prosthetics clinic/centre, physiotherapist, and rehabilitation centre would also be suitable evidence.

Qualifying Conditions

In order to qualify for the scheme you must be resident in Aberdeen City and fall into one of the following categories:

  • Aged 60 or over, or
  • Aged 5 or over and fall into one of the following categories: 
    • In receipt of the higher rate of the mobility component of the disability living allowance; or,
    • In receipt of the higher or middle rate of the care component of the disability living allowance; or,
    • In receipt of a mobility supplement under article 26A of the Naval, Military and Air Forces etc. (Disablement and Death) Service Pensions Order 1983; or,
    • Your vehicle is licensed in the ‘disabled’ taxation class; or,
    • You have a disabled person’s parking badge – commonly known as a Blue Badge; or,
    • You have been certified as blind or partially sighted; or,
    • You have been refused a driving licence, or had your licence revoked by the DVLA (other than on the grounds of persistent misuse of drugs or alcohol); or,
    • You have made an application for a first provisional driving licence; to renew an expired licence; or for a duplicate and the application has been refused by the DVLA; or,
    • You are profoundly or severely deaf; or,
    • Your ability to travel is impaired by a mental disorder which has persisted for more than a year and you are required to travel to keep health or social care appointments or participate in activities as part of a treatment, care or rehabilitation programme; or
    • You have been diagnosed as terminally ill or with a progressive degenerative condition in so far as such condition severely impedes their mobility and ability to carry out day to day activities; or,
    • You have lost one or both lower limbs; one lower limb and one upper limb; or both upper limbs.
    • You have epilepsy and have had a seizure within the past 12 months, and: you do not hold a current driving licence (license refused or revoked on medical grounds), or, have never had a driving licence, and, would be refused a driving licence on medical grounds if you applied for one.

Conditions of Use

Eligible Bus Services

Your new Accord card gives you FREE BUS TRAVEL throughout Scotland on virtually all scheduled local registered and long-distance bus services available to the general public.

The card is valid at all times every day of the week – there is no peak-time restriction for bus travel. There are no boundary restrictions or charges for travel within Scotland and, regardless of the distance, with your new Accord card you will travel for free.

In addition, the Scotland-wide free bus travel scheme includes services to and from Carlisle from Dumfries & Galloway and to and from Berwick-upon-Tweed from the Scottish Borders. Your Accord card does not give you free bus travel within Carlisle or Berwick-upon-Tweed.

For long-distance journeys you may wish to pay a booking fee to guarantee your seat. Please contact the operator to confirm whether a fee would be applicable.

Eligible Train Services

Anyone with the eye symbol (registered blind or partially sighted) on their card allows the cardholder to free rail travel under the Scottish Blind Persons Scheme (a voluntary arrangement between Local Authorities, COSLA and Rail operators) and all rail operators that operate within Scotland will accept the card.
 
They also receive free ferry travel (subject to participating ferry operators), however, you should check with the ferry operator in advance of any travel.
 
For cardholders with the +1 (in addition to the eye symbol), a companion may get discounted rail travel in their own local area but this only applies where the local authority operates a rail companion scheme and not all Local Authorities do.  Therefore, the cardholder should check with the train operator in advance of any travel to establish if the companion is entitled to a discounted fare.

Additional travel information to help plan travel around Scotland

Traveline Scotland provides journey planning information for people wanting to use public transport to get around Scotland. To access this journey planning information you should call 0870 608 2608 or visit the website www.travelinescotland.com

Companion concessions

If you are 5 years of age or over, and your mobility is such that you require to be accompanied when travelling, you can apply for a Companion Concessionary Card.  In order to qualify for this entitlement, you must fall into one of the following categories:

  • In receipt of higher or middle rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance;
  • In receipt of Attendance Allowance;
  • Registered as blind;
  • Live in a care/residential or hospital and are eligible for higher or
  • middle rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance.

If you meet the above criteria this allows both you and one companion to travel free of charge together for the same journey by bus. The companion can vary from journey to journey but they must board and alight the bus at the same locations as you. There is no requirement for your companion to be with you on all journeys you make. You have the choice of whether to travel on your own or with a companion.

Using the new Accord card / National Entitlement card

When travelling in Aberdeen city on Aberdeen First buses, you should place your card on the card reader which is part of the ticketing machine. When travelling on other buses you should show your new Accord card to the driver who will check its validity.

Over the coming months all buses throughout Scotland are being fitted with new electronic ticket machines. Once that is done, your card will act as an electronic card that will allow your journey to be accurately recorded by the bus driver. If a bus has a new ticket machine the driver will show you what to do with your card once you are on the bus.

Replacement Accord card / National Entitlement card

Should you require your Accord card to be replaced as it has either been lost, stolen, damaged, or is faulty you must advise us as soon as possible.

Where your card has been either lost or stolen you should phone the Accord office (0845 345 2789) to report this.  If you have lost your card we recommend you check with a couple of other organisations before calling us to see if it has been found and handed in: these organisations are;

  • First Aberdeen
    47, Union Street, Aberdeen
    Tel: (01224) 650074/ or 650065
  • Grampian Police, Lost Property Department
    Queens Street, Aberdeen
    Tel: 0845 6005700

If neither of these organisations have received your lost card, then please phone the Accord office (0845 345 2789) to arrange for a replacement to be issued.  Please note, once you have requested a replacement card, should you then find you old card before you receive your replacement card please call the Accord office (0845 345 2789) to advise us.  If the replacement card has not yet been produced then you will be able to continue to use your existing card.  However, if we have already produced a replacement card for you, you will not be able to use your old card as the replacement card will automatically supersede your old card, making the old card redundant.

Where your card has been damaged or may be faulty, you must take your card to your nearest customer access point (details above) to report this.  The damaged/ faulty card will be taken from you in order that it can be fully tested and either repaired or a replacement card produced.

When a replacement card is produced for you, it will be sent directly to your home address if there is no charge for the replacement.  You should receive your replacement card within 7 to 10 working days.  However, if there is a charge for the replacement card then you can collect it from the office you handed your card into initially.  Again, this should be ready for collection within 7 to 10 working days.  Please refer to the section below on when a charge will be made for a replacement card.

Charge for replacement cards

Your initial Accord card is produced free of charge as are subsequent replacements.  However, we reserve the right to raise a replacement charge where a large number of replacement requests are made due to the card being either lost or damaged.

Please note, once you have requested a replacement card, should you then find you old card before you receive your replacement card please call the Accord office (0845 345 2789) to advise us.  If the replacement card has not yet been produced then you will be able to continue to use your existing card and no replacement fee (if applicable) will be levied.  However, if we have already produced a replacement card for you, you will not be able to use your old card as the replacement card will automatically supersede your old card, making the old card redundant.  In this circumstance, a replacement fee (if applicable) will still be payable.

Please note, whilst your replacement card is being produce, there is no temporary travel pass we can issue to you during this time.

Changes in Circumstances

There are three situations where you circumstances may change that you must report to us: these are;

  • You have moved address
  • Your name has changed
  • Your concessionary travel entitlement has changed

In any of the above situations we require you to complete a ‘Change of Circumstances’ form which can be obtained from and completed at any of the customer access points mentioned above. 

In order to confirm the change in your circumstances, you must bring in person to one of the offices stated above documentary evidence of the change, e.g. utility bill / bank statement showing your new name and/ or new address, or an award letter from the Benefits Agency confirming your new entitlement to Disability Living Allowance.

Where either your name or entitlement has changed, we will produce a replacement card for you free of charge and send it directly to your home address.  In the meantime you can continue to use your existing card for travel purposes, and destroy this card on receipt of the updated replacement.  Where your address has changed, you can continue to use the card you have been issued with and we will update our records with your new details.

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