Last reviewed 25 November 2021

The Department for Transport (DfT) has published guidance for travel authorities on how they can reimburse bus operators who carry concession permit holders such as disabled and older people.

A mandatory bus concession for older and disabled people has been in place since 2001 and has been gradually extended to provide free off-peak local bus travel to older and disabled people anywhere in England since April 2008.

The mandatory bus concession is administered locally by Travel Concession Authorities (TCAs), which include County Councils, Unitary Authorities, Passenger Transport Executives and London Boroughs, and the latest guidance is solely concerned with how TCAs in England reimburse bus operators for concessionary travel in accordance with the legal requirements.

The DfT intends that it will assist TCAs in their compliance with legal requirements, in particular EC Regulation 1370/2007, on public passenger transport services by rail and road.

This guidance supersedes that previously published on reimbursement and sets out:

  • the legislative background

  • the appeal process

  • background to reimbursement principles

  • advice on how to estimate the revenue forgone and additional costs

  • background to the theoretical framework for reimbursement, including a summary of the available research evidence

  • information on the calculations in the Department for Transport's Reimbursement Calculator through worked examples.

The 117-page guide covers schemes commencing in April 2022 and is available – here.