Travel Card applicant

Questions and Answers

Q and A for Concessionary Travel Cards

How do I apply for my first Welsh Concessionary Travel Card?

The quickest and easiest way to apply for a card is via the website. Visit www.tfw.wales/travelcards and follow the simple instructions. Alternatively, pop into your local library or community hub where you’ll be able to access the internet. 

If you’re unable to apply on the website, don’t worry, you can ask a friend, family member or someone you trust to fill in the online application on your behalf. If you’d like to find out where local support if available, please call 0300 303 4240.

If you have any queries, please speak to your local council or call 0300 303 4240 to find out where local support is available. Please be aware that you won’t be able to apply by phone.

I have a bus pass (green in colour) issued by my local council.  How do I replace it with a new-style card?

To reapply, you’ll need the following information to hand:
1.    The 19-digit card number printed on the front of your (green) bus pass
2.    Your date of birth

3.    The postcode your current card is registered to. Don’t worry, there’s an option to update your address at the next stage of the application process.

4. Your National Insurance number, if you’re over 16, which is on pension statements, disability statements or payslips

If you’re visiting a drop-in centre or asking someone to apply on your behalf, please make sure you’ve all of this information available, including your National Insurance number. We can’t process your application without it.

If the photo on the card is no longer a likeness to you, or if any of the details are incorrect, you can update these simply on the website. New photos can be uploaded from digital cameras or smartphone/tablet cameras.

We aim to get back to you in 15 working days but when we’re particularly busy it may take longer.  If we need more information, we’ll contact you, and will put your application on hold until we receive and validate the information.

I tried to renew my bus pass but the website couldn’t find my existing card

The website asks you to enter your existing card number, postcode and date of birth. It needs to find an exact match of all of these details to be able to confirm your old card information.

Sometimes we can’t find an existing card with the details you provided. This could be because:

  • You haven’t put spaces in the postcode.
  • You’ve used the card number from an old card which has been replaced. It needs to be the number of the last card you were issued
  • You’ve moved and not updated your card details: have you entered the postcode where you lived when you first got a card?  We need the postcode you registered with, you’ll be able to update your address later
  • There’s a mistake in the original record we’re trying to match against
  • There’s a mistake in the information you or your council typed in – it only takes one number or letter to be wrong
  • Your previous card was not issued by a Welsh Council – in which case you’ll need to apply using the “Apply for the first time” option

You can call us on 0300 303 4240 or speak to your council if you still experience problems and we’ll try our best to find out what information is missing.

If we still can’t find your card, don't worry, you can still apply for a new-style card, but we’ll need more information from you, including a new photo.

Can I pick up a paper application form?

Paper application forms are available from council offices, by calling 0300 303 4240 or by emailing travelcards@tfw.wales.

You’ll need to provide copies of evidence to support your application and a new passport photo.  Once you’ve got these, return your form to Concessionary Travel Card, PO Box 55, Penrhyndeudraeth, LL49 0AY.

Please do not send originals of any documents like passports or driving licences.

Please also note that ‘recorded’ delivery is not available for PO Box addresses.

Remember, it’s easier if you can find someone to help you apply on the website at www.tfw.wales/travelcards

I applied in early September and not received my card yet – what’s happening?

The application website was available for short periods on the 9and 10 September 2019, and we had very high demand during those periods.  If you did apply on these dates, you may have got some or all of the way through the application process and then returned to the start without confirmation. If you didn’t receive an email from us on the 16 September confirming the status of your application, we’re sorry, but you’ll need to apply again. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

We also have applications which are incomplete or duplications which require manual checking. We’re working through the list and we’ll be in touch to confirm whether we’ve been able to issue your new card or whether you’ll need to apply again. If you applied after the 11 September, this section does not apply to you.

I applied after the 11 September – what’s happening?

We’ve received almost 250,000 applications since the website launched, and we’re continuing to receive a high number every day. We’re working hard to make sure everyone receives their new cards shortly.

Please bear with us – if you’ve applied, please be assured that your details have been received and are being processed, and we’ll be in touch shortly. It may take over 7 working days before you’ll be able to check the status of your application online or for your account to be created. It may take up to a month before your new card arrives in the post.

It’s important to remember that your current green bus pass is valid while you’re waiting for your new card to arrive and will be accepted until 31 December 2019.

I’m trying to check the status of my application on the website but can’t find anything – why?

When you apply on the website, we’re carrying out a number of background checks to make sure all your details are correct before we transfer your details onto the main card system. These checks are currently taking up to three weeks.

Once we’ve transferred your application to the main system, you can find it by going to www.tfw.wales/travelcards and selecting “My existing card or application”.  Due to the high volume of applications, there’s currently a delay on accounts being created. Please bear with us, we apologise for any inconvenience and we’re processing your details as quickly as possible.

Has Transport for Wales taken over the concessionary card scheme from councils?

No - councils continue to manage concessionary travel schemes under the Transport Act (2000). Councils have agreed that Transport for Wales can help councils to replace all existing green bus passes before 31 December 2019. Councils still play an important part in the process, including providing local support and managing replacements for lost/stolen/damaged cards.

I’ve been asked to provide more information.  Why?

When we get your application, we check it against government records to prevent fraud.  If we can’t positively confirm your identity from government records, we’ll need more evidence to support your application.  The evidence we require depends on the type of pass you’re applying for, as explained in https://tfw.gov.wales/eligibility

If you’ve previously had a green bus pass, your council will have undertaken some checks when you first applied.  We will re-check your information again current government records when you apply for your new-style card. In some cases, where you’ve had your card a while, we may ask you to provide evidence to support your application.

We’ll be in touch with you if we need any further information to process your application. If we do ask you to provide more information, you can do this by following the instructions in our email/letter/call or by going to www.tfw.wales/travelcards and selecting “My existing card or application”.  Then it’s just a matter of taking digital photos of the relevant document/s using a phone or tablet and loading them into the website, following the instructions.  

Why do you need my National Insurance number?

We fully understand that cardholders are concerned about privacy and confidentiality of personal information.  We take privacy extremely seriously, and have taken many steps to ensure your data is safe - our privacy notice provides more information: https://tfw.gov.wales/Concessionary-Card-Privacy-Statement

The Wales Audit Office publishes a set of data which it recommends that public authorities collect to prevent fraud.  The latest publication is available on the WAO website at http://www.audit.wales/sites/default/files/seminar_documents/nfi_data_specification_2018_6.pdf

The section “Concessionary travel passes (ADULY ONLY) – 2018-19 data specification”, specifically lists National Insurance number as an important identifier and states that “The data required is for all current adult holders of a concessionary travel pass”.

I’ve applied but have had several emails from TfW – what does this mean?

The system sends emails automatically when you submit and application, if we need more information and when we’ve approved your card for printing. 

Sometimes, we can immediately see from your application that we need more information and in this case, you may receive two emails at the same time: one saying that we’ve received your application and another asking for evidence of name and address. 

If you get an email asking for proof of name or address, we put your application on hold until we’ve received the required evidence.  Please also refer to the question above I’ve been asked to provide more information.  Why?

I’ve sent an application form to the PO Box.  How do I track it?

We’re processing all paper applications, entering the information on them and scanning photos and documents submitted.  The initial demand has been very high, and we’ve recruited more people to process the applications as fast as we can, but it can still take at least four weeks to process your application.  Once we’ve processed your application, we’ll send you a new card or ask for more information. 

If you provided an email address, we’ll email you to confirm your application is being processed and then if you’ve access to the Internet, you can track its progress by going to www.tfw.wales/travelcards and selecting “My existing card or application”.

I’ve sent an email but had no response

We’re processing all emails as fast as we can and have recruited additional staff to process the applications.  There has been some delays over the past few weeks, but we’re currently responding within 10 days.

I have a disability. Am I entitled to a Concessionary Travel Card?

Please refer to the guide on eligibility and the evidence you’ll need to provide.

If you’re still unsure whether you qualify for a Disabled Person’s Concessionary Travel Card, please contact your local council.

I’m disabled and I’m unable to travel alone; how do I apply for my first Disabled Person with Companion Travel Card?

Please refer to the guide on eligibility and the evidence you’ll need to provide

All companion cards are processed by the local councils. Please contact your local council.

If you’ve a green Disabled Person with Companion Card and simply want to change it for a new-style card, you can do this at www.tfw.wales/travelcards - please refer to the question “I’ve a green bus pass issued by my local council.  How do I get a new-style card?” above.

How do I supply a digital photo?

If this is your first Welsh Concessionary Travel Card, you’ll need a digital photo to apply for a card.

Digital cameras and most mobile phones and tablets can take digital photos. If you apply using a smartphone or a tablet, you can use the built-in camera to take a photo, or if you’re using a computer, you’ll need to transfer the photo to the computer first before you can upload the photo to your application. 

You should ask someone else to take your photo as ones you take of yourself (“selfies”) can often distort features, and it can be hard to get the right size picture.

The digital photo must:
•    Clearly show your face so that the drivers can recognise you easily
•    Include your head and shoulders
•    Contain no other objects or people
•    Be taken against a plain light-coloured background

You should:
•    Face forward and look straight at the camera
•    Have a plain expression and your mouth closed
•    Have your eyes open and visible
•    Not have hair in front of your eyes
•    Not have a head covering (unless it's for religious or medical reasons)
•    Not have anything covering your face
•    Not have any shadows on your face or behind you

Examples of what photos will and won’t be accepted:

Photo guidance

Note though that we don’t have the same strict requirements as passports (which use the photo for biometric identification), so long as drivers can recognise it’s you from your photo.

If you’ve previously had a bus pass, we’ll try to reuse the photo for your new-style card. You need to make sure it’s still a good likeness, as you could be refused travel if the drivers can’t recognise you from the picture. We’d advise you ask some you trust their opinion and update the photo, if necessary.

I have an old-style card, and have put in the details, but the website is still asking me for my address.

We check that you’re registered at the address we hold for your old card.  If we can’t verify this, we’ll ask you to re-enter your address.

This may be because you’ve moved and not told your local council, your name has changed or there’s an error in the original information you supplied.  

To progress your application, please re-enter your current address, as it appears on official correspondence, such as bills from your electricity, gas or water companies or letters from your local council. If you enter your postcode first, you should be able to select your address from the registered list. If you can’t find your address on the list, please contact us on 0300 303 4240.  

Please also check your name matches how it appears on official correspondence.  

We’ll then try to verify your details again. You may ask you for additional documents so we can check you’re entitled to a card.  Please remember, you’re only entitled to a Welsh Concessionary Travel Card if your primary residence is in Wales.

Why there is an expiry date on my new-style card?

To comply with GDPR legislation regarding the accuracy of the data that we hold about you we are no longer able to issue passes that do not have a printed expiry date as we need to regularly revalidate the information that we hold.

Our new systems will automatically send you a reminder several weeks before the expiry date allowing you plenty of time to confirm the details that we hold about you and request a new card. In order to ensure that we can contact you at that time please ensure that any changes to your address or other means of communication with you are kept up to date. This can be done easily on our website at www.tfw.wales/travelcards.

I'm 60 in a few weeks’ time, when can I apply?

You can apply for a card up to 20 days before your 60th birthday.

Why is the new card from Transport for Wales and not my local council?

The Concessionary Travel scheme is still owned by each local council. Transport for Wales is managing the reissue of around 750,000 cards across Wales on behalf of Welsh Government and local councils. Transport for Wales has created a new website to make applications easier and a national help desk with partners PTI Cymru (who manage Traveline Cymru). You can still receive help and support with your application from your local council. 

Why can’t you just automatically send me a new card?

The scheme has been in place for 10 years, and lots of things have since changed. People may have moved, or other details may have changed, and new regulations being introduced, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Reapplying makes sure the data we’ll hold about you is 100% up-to-date and accurate, and you also know exactly what we’ll do with your information.

I only received my bus pass earlier this year.  Do I still need to reapply?

Unfortunately, yes, unless your local council issued you a Transport for Wales branded new-style card. All current cards (green-coloured cards with council logos) will expire and will not be accepted on buses after 31 December 2019.

Will I be able to sort out my application at my usual Post Office or local council office?

Your local library and council offices will be able to support you with your application. If you’d like to find out where support is available in your local area, visit  www.tfw.wales/travelcards or call  0300 303 4240.

I’ve lost or damaged my current card: Can I still get a new-style card?

Yes, and if it’s your first new-style card there’s no charge.  

It’s much easier if you can find the 19-digit card number from your current card, as we can re-use this information to quickly process your new-style card.  

Please note, if we can’t link your information, you may have to re-enter details and provide evidence of your eligibility. 


How do I use my Concessionary Travel Card?
Using your card is simple. When you travel on the bus, all you need to do is:
•    Show your card to the driver
•    Place your card on the ticket reader
•    Find a seat and enjoy your free journey

Please remember your card can only be used by you. Allowing someone else to use it may lead to the card being cancelled and/or its renewal being refused. Where a Disabled Person with Companion Concessionary Travel Card has been issued, the companion will only be allowed to travel for free when accompanying the cardholder for the whole of the bus journey.

Further information is available in the full terms and conditions of the scheme.

Where can I use my Concessionary Travel Card?

Your Concessionary Travel Card is valid on all eligible local bus services that operate wholly in Wales, or on those commencing/terminating at points adjacent to Wales, provided that the cross-boundary journey doesn’t involve a change of bus in England. You can also use selected rail services operating in Wales.

Please be aware you can’t use your card on coach services such as National Express, Megabus or City Sightseeing. However, companies may offer discounts to Concessionary Travel Cardholders.

Further information is available in the full terms and conditions of the scheme.

How do I find out about bus times?

Traveline Cymru provides times and route information about all bus, coach, rail, ferry and air services in Wales. They offer an internet-based enquiry service which is available at www.traveline.cymru. You can also call them on 0800 464 00 00.  

Can I use my Concessionary Travel Card on a train?

You can travel for free on the following Transport for Wales rail services:
•    Wrexham – Hawarden Bridge
•    Machynlleth – Pwllheli (Cambrian Coastline) – October to March only
•    Llandudno – Blaenau Ffestiniog (Conwy Valley line)
•    Shrewsbury and Llanelli/Swansea (Heart of Wales Line) – October to March only.

You’ll need to show your Concessionary Travel Card to get a free ticket from the ticket office before you travel. If there’s no ticket office or if it’s closed, you can get one from the conductor on the train. 

You can also get 1/3 off tickets to travel on the Cardiff and Valley network after 0930 Monday - Friday and any time at weekends and bank holidays. 

Why does my new Concessionary Travel Card look different? 

Local councils have previously issued council branded Concessionary Travel Cards (The green coloured bus passes). The new-style cards are issued by Transport for Wales.

Your card has a fresh new look, but still offers all the same free travel rights and benefits on all eligible local bus services throughout Wales. There’s no difference between the benefits available on the new and old-style cards.

If any of your friends and family are wondering why they haven’t received their new-style card yet, please tell them not to worry. Old-style cards (Bus Passes) will continue to be accepted until 31 December 2019.

The details on my Concessionary Travel Card are incorrect or have changed; what should I do?

It’s important to keep your personal information up-to-date, so if you change your address or any other details, please let us know by using www.tfw.wales/travelcards, email us at travelcards@tfw.wales or call us on 0300 303 4240.

I have a new-style card. How long is it valid for?

The expiry date is shown on the front of your card. We’ll contact you nearer the time to remind you to apply for a replacement.

If you’ve a Disabled Person's or Disabled Person plus Companion Concessionary Travel Card, you may be asked to provide new evidence before the card expiry date. We’ll contact you at that time.

I have an old-style pass and didn’t notify the council that I moved or that my name changed. Can I still get a new-style pass?

If you’re still eligible and live in Wales, yes. Please note that if you’re applying on the website www.tfw.wales/travelcards please enter your old postcode so that we can find your details. You’ll then need to update your address as you complete the application.

A relative has died and had a Concessionary Travel Card. How do I cancel it?

Please notify us by calling 0300 303 4240 and we’ll ensure the card is cancelled. Once you’ve informed us, please cut up the card.

When will my old-style card stop working?

Your old-style card will stop being recognised by electronic ticket readers on buses on 31 December 2019, so it’s important you apply for a new-style card in plenty of time to continue to enjoy the benefits of free travel. 

Are my personal details safe?

Keeping your personal data safe is very important to us.

Your information is held securely and used by your local council, Welsh Government and Transport for Wales to administer the scheme and prevent fraud. We’ll only use your information for marketing purposes if you’ve given us permission.

Your card displays your name and the expiry date and doesn’t contain any other personal details.

TfW processes your information in accordance with the Transport for Wales privacy statement

Am I still eligible for a new-style card after the announcement that there’s a review of the concessionary travel eligibility criteria?

Welsh Government’s proposal to align the Concessionary Travel eligibility age in the future with that of state pension age aims to ensure that the scheme remains sustainable in the longer term and is targeted at those most in need. The eligibility proposal will not affect current cardholders - you’ll not lose entitlement to your card and its benefits in the future, nor will you be affected when you come to reapplying for a Concessionary Travel Card after 31 December 2019. 

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