Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney

Travel Concessions Eligibility

Applying for free bus travel with the National Entitlement Card

To apply for your National Entitlement Card you will need:

  • A completed application form.
  • A recent photograph (Please do not wear a hat or head covering (unless for religious reasons) or have your hood up or wear dark glasses, as all of these make it difficult to tell it is you in the photo and we cannot process it.)
  • Proof of age or disability.
  • Proof of your current address.

Applicants should apply in person. However, (if applying on the grounds of disability and your mobility is such that you are unable to apply in person) please ask someone who knows you, who is not a relative or part of your family and is in a full-time, profession job (like a teacher, doctor, nurse, community worker, social worker, police officer, or religious leader) to write the following on the back of your photograph:

“I confirm that this is a true likeness of (name of person)”, sign and date the back of the photo.

The referee must also supply an address and telephone contact number, so that the information given may be verified.

For full terms and conditions of the National Entitlement Card system, please go the National Entitlement Card (NEC) website via the 'Related Sites' section.

Over 60s eligibility

To get a National Entitlement Card you must be:

  • Aged 60+, and
  • Resident in Scotland.

People with a Disability

If you are a resident in Scotland, aged 5 or over and meet one of the listed criteria, you are entitled to free bus travel with the National Entitlement Card.

  • You receive the Disability Living Allowance under the higher rate of mobility or higher/middle rate of care. Include the award letter from the Department of Work and Pensions, dated within the last year, in your application.
  • You receive the standard or enhanced rate of Personal Independence Payment. Include the award letter (dated within the last year) from the Department of Work and pensions in your application.
  • You receive Attendance Allowance. Include a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions, dated within the last year, in your application.
  • You live in a care/residential home or hospital and are eligible for the higher or middle rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance, or Personal Independence Payment or Attendance Allowance.
  • You are a Blue Badge holder. Take your Blue Badge, latest V11 vehicle licensing reminder from DVLA or DLA404 from the Department of Work and Pensions when you apply for your card.
  • You are profoundly or severely deaf. Take along a letter from your Audiologist, Hospital Consultant or Registered Society for the Deaf when you apply. The letter must show that you have bilateral hearing loss greater than or equal to 70dBHLs averaged over 1, 2 and 4KHz. If you have been deaf since birth, a letter from your GP is fine too.
  • You have a visual impairment. Bring your registration certificate that confirms you are blind or partially sighted when you apply for your card. A letter from the RNIB or other registered society is also acceptable.
  • You have been told not to drive based on medical grounds. Take the DVLA confirmation letter as evidence when you apply. If you have epilepsy the NCT003 certificate is acceptable too. Collect the certificate from your local authority and ask your Hospital Consultant, GP or Epilepsy Specialist Nurse to sign.
  • You have a mental illness, learning difficulty or personality disorder that is recognised under the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 and has lasted for more than a year. You must need to travel to health or social care appointments as part of treatment activities, care or a rehabilitation programme. Your ability to travel must also be impaired. Collect an NCT002 certificate from your local authority and ask one of the qualified medical professionals listed on the form to complete it.
  • You have a terminal illness. Take your award notice that shows you receive higher or middle rate of Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance when you apply. A DS1500 report, hospice admittance letter or confirmation that you are registered on a Scottish hospice register is also acceptable.
  • You have a progressive degenerative condition. Conditions such as Parkinson's Disease that impede your mobility entitle you to free bus travel. Ask your hospital consultant to provide a letter confirming that your condition is considered ‘progressive degenerative' and that it severely impedes your mobility and ability to carry out day to day activities. This wording should appear on any documentary evidence.
  • You have lost one or more limbs. If you have lost one or both legs, both arms or an arm and a leg you are entitled to free bus travel. Request a letter from your prosthetic clinic/centre, physiotherapist or rehabilitation centre for your application.
  • You are an injured veteran with mobility problems. You will qualify if you have received a lump sum benefit under the Armed Forces and Compensation Scheme within tariff levels 1 - 8 (inclusive) and the Secretary of State certifies that you have a permanent and substantial disability which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking. You will need to produce a certification letter from the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency.
  • You will also qualify under the same criteria if your injuries do not hinder your mobility but the injury can be cross referenced to the descriptors within the AFCS Injuries Table.
  • If you receive a War Pensioner Mobility Supplement you are also eligible. Please provide a letter from the Veterans' Agency or Ministry of Defence in your application.

Evidence letters

If you receive Attendance Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Living Allowance under the higher rate of mobility or higher/middle rate of care, live in a care or residential home or hospital, or are a blue badge holder you'll need a letter to confirm your eligibility.

Companion entitlement

If you need a companion to help you use public transport your National Entitlement Card will allow them to travel for free too.
Travelling with a companion can make things much easier. Helping you on and off the bus, carrying shopping or communicating with the driver helps maintain the freedom you get with the National Entitlement Card.

Travel Companion logo.If you have this symbol on your card, you're entitled to have a companion travel with you, on the same journey, for free. Your companion and journey can vary but your companion can only travel for free when they are with you. You are not obliged to travel with a companion but the entitlement is there for when you need it.

Eligibility for Companion Travel

Your companion is entitled to travel for free if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • You receive the higher or middle rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance.
  • You receive the standard or enhanced rate of daily living component of Personal Independence Payment.
  • You receive Attendance Allowance.
  • You are registered blind.
  • You live in a care or residential home and receive the higher or middle rate of the care component Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance.
  • You receive war pensions constant attendance allowance.

Scotland-Wide Concessionary Travel Scheme for Young People

All 16 to 18 year olds and young full-time volunteers up to the age of 25 are entitled to concessionary travel on buses, rail and ferries. The scheme provides a third off bus and rail travel. Eligible people in Orkney are also entitled to two free return ferry journeys to the mainland each year.

Air Discount Scheme

The Air Discount Scheme provides 50% discount on flights to the Scottish Mainland and to other eligible areas in the Highlands and Islands. The Air Discount Scheme is available to all people whose main residence is Orkney (and other qualifying areas in the Highlands and Islands). The scheme also includes students from the eligible areas who are studying away from home. Information on the Air Discount Scheme is available at the ADS website in the Related Sites section or by calling Telephone: 0800 0322 890.

Rail Travel Discounts for Orkney Residents

Residents of Orkney are entitled to purchase a Highland Rail Card which gives 50% off rail travel on the following routes:

  • Mallaig/Fort William/Oban - Glasgow.
  • Wick/Thurso - Inverness.
  • Kyle of Lochalsh - Inverness.

Valid on ScotRail services only.

You can buy your Highland Rail Cards from the following staffed stations:

  • Inverness.
  • Dingwall.
  • Kyle of Lochalsh.
  • Wick.
  • Thurso.
  • Oban.
  • Fort William.
  • Mallaig.

Applications by post should be sent to the following address enclosing your application form, proof of residence, passport sized photograph and payment (cheque or postal order only).

Highland Railcard Applications

Travel Centre, Inverness Railway Station, Station Square, Academy Street, Inverness, IV1 1LE.

Related Links

Related Sites