How to use your Freedom Pass

Your Freedom Pass uses Oyster technology and should be used in the same way as an Oyster Card (though of course you do not have to charge it with money!). Please note your Freedom Pass cannot be used as a 'Top-up' or 'pay as you go' Oyster card.

Here is some more detailed advice on use in London:

Please note as soon as you receive your Freedom Pass, you can use it and destroy any old card you may have.

Using your Freedom Pass

Using your Freedom Pass is straightforward. You don’t have to take it out of its wallet or insert it into any machines.

Card readerOn the gates at most stations and when boarding buses you will see a yellow circle which is a card reader. Keep your pass in its wallet and then touch the pass flat onto the yellow card reader.

  • When travelling on Underground and train services you will need to touch your card on the reader when entering and exiting stations
  • On buses, trams and Docklands Light Railway you will only need to touch your card on the reader when boarding
  • On buses with more than one entry door, e.g. bendy buses, you must touch your card on a reader at the earliest opportunity.

Holders of the 'Wave and Pay' or 'contactless' bank cards

If you are the holder of a Freedom Pass and 'Wave and Pay' bank card please only put your Freedom Pass to the bus reader and keep bank cards separate.  If the reader only reads the bank card, it will debit £1.45. If it sees both neither card will be read. This applies only to bankcards with the Wave and Pay symbol.

To obtain credit, in cases of accidental debiting from your bank account, you will need to call TfL on 0343 222 1234 and advise of your Freedom Pass number and name.


You should be ready to show your Freedom Pass to station staff or ticket inspectors if requested.

Travelling with children

Up to 4 accompanying children aged under 11 may travel for free with a Freedom Pass holder on all Buses, trams Tube, DLR and between stations on the orange routes on National Rail/London Overground services as per the freedom pass map Opens in a new window.

How to ensure your Freedom Pass works properly

If your Freedom Pass is damaged it may stop working, and you may not be able to continue travelling for free until the pass is replaced, so please read our guidance on protecting your card from damage.

Lending your card to someone else

Please do not lend your pass to friends or relatives. The Freedom Pass is only to be used by the authorised holder. For more information, please read the conditions of use page.

Card expiry date

From June 2013, new and replacement Older Person Freedom Passes will have an expiry date of 31 March 2018.

Freedom Passes issued prior to June 2013 will either have an expiry date of 31 March 2015 or 2016.

Remember, if you move out of London you must inform the Freedom Pass department (0845 275 7054) as you will no longer be eligible and your card must be surrendered.