Everyone aged 66 and over living permanently in the State is entitled to the
Free Travel Scheme. Some people under 66 also qualify. If you qualify for free
travel, you are issued with a pass that you must carry with you when using
public transport. In some cases, a Free Travel Companion Pass is available
which allows a person to travel with the holder (if they are unable to travel
alone). Free travel passes are non-transferrable and can only be used by the
Free travel is available on all State public transport (bus, rail and
Dublin's LUAS service). Free travel is also available on a limited number of
services operated by private bus transport companies. Private bus transport
operators that have opted in to the Free Travel Scheme accept free travel
passes. You should contact the Department of Social Protection to check whether
your private bus operator accepts free travel passes - see 'Where to apply'
Free travel and Public Services Card
The Government is introducing a Public Services Card which will allow people
to access a range of government services and payments. The Public Services Card
will eventually replace the Free Travel Pass. A pilot registration programme
was carried out with a small group of Free Travel Pass holders in 2012.
The Department of Social Protection is now starting to register people over
66 who are entitled to free travel. Invitations to register by way of the
‘postal’ registration process are starting to issue during the week
starting Monday 19 August. Invitations to register by way of the
‘face-to-face’ registration process will start to issue at the end of
August 2013. See our document on the Public
Services Card for more information.
Spouses, civil partners, cohabitants and companions
If you have a Free Travel Pass and you are married, in a civil partnership
or cohabiting, you are entitled to a Free Travel Pass which allows your partner
to accompany you free of charge when travelling. (This does not apply to people
under age 66 who are getting Carer's Allowance or who are
nominated carers for people getting Constant Attendance Allowance or Prescribed
Relatives Allowance from the Department of Social Protection).
In addition, some people who are unable to travel alone may get a Free
Travel Companion Pass. This allows the holder to be accompanied by any
person over 16 years of age, free of charge.
Senior SmartPass for travelling in Northern Ireland
The All Ireland Free Travel Scheme allows a Free Travel passholder (those
aged 66 and older) to travel free of charge on all bus and rail services within
Northern Ireland using a Senior
Smartpass card. Similarly, Northern Ireland Senior Smartpass holders are
entitled to travel for free on services in Ireland using their existing Senior
Smartpass. If your Free Travel Pass allows you to be accompanied by a spouse,
civil partner or cohabitant or companion they may continue to travel with you
for free on cross-border journeys but they cannot accompany you for free on
public transport within Northern Ireland.
Free Travel Pass holders wishing to avail of the All Ireland Free Travel
scheme within Northern Ireland must first obtain a Senior SmartPass card. To
get a Senior SmartPass card you must fill in an application form (FTNI1). (It
is not possible to get this form online, to get a form you
must contact your social welfare local office).
The application form must be filled in with black ink only
and returned in person (not posted) to your social welfare
local office. You must bring the following items with your application form to
your social welfare local office:
- Your current Free Travel Pass and
- Evidence of your address, (for example, a gas, electricity, phone bill or
bank statement) and
- Evidence of your identity, (for example, your drivers licence, passport
or another form of photo identification) and
- A recent passport standard colour photograph.
It may take up to six weeks to process your application. There is further
information on the extension of the Free Travel Scheme.
You should continue to use your current Free Travel Pass for travel in this
Renewing a Senior SmartPass
Your Senior SmartPass will expire after 5 years.
- If you have electronically used your card within the last 2 years you
will get a new card automatically in the post from Translink when your card
- If you have not used your card in the last 2 years you will be sent a
renewal application form to fill out. (The renewal form is not the same as
a first-time application and you do not need to supply a photograph.)
- If you have never used your card you will not hear from Translink at all.
If you wish to get it renewed, you must contact Translink who will send you
a renewal application.
You may be entitled to free travel if you are permanently living in the
- You are aged 66 or over
- You are getting Disability Allowance, Blind
Allowance or an Invalidity
Pension from the Department of Social Protection.
- You have been getting Incapacity Supplement or Workmen's Compensation
with Disablement Pension for at least 12 months
- You are blind or visually impaired and meet the medical conditions for
- You are a specified carer for a person getting Constant Attendance
Allowance or Prescribed Relatives Allowance from the Department
- You are getting a social security invalidity payment, or similar payment,
from another EU member state or from a country with which Ireland has a
bilateral social security agreement for at least 12 months
- You are a widow or widower or a surviving civil partner aged 60 or over
whose late spouse/civil partner held a free travel pass and who is getting
one of the following payments: State Pension (Transition), Widow's,
Widower's or Surviving Partner's (Contributory) Pension, Widow's, Widower's
or Surviving Partner's (Non-Contributory) Pension, One-Parent Family
Payment, Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Partner's Pension under the
Occupational Injuries Benefit Scheme or a similar social security
pension/benefit from an EU member state or a country with which Ireland has
a bilateral social security agreement, or an ordinary Garda widow's
Where free travel can be used
Free travel is available on Iarnród Éireann, Bus Éireann, Dublin Bus,
Dart and Luas Services and on certain private bus and ferry services. You may
also travel free of charge on certain cross-border services between Ireland and
If you are permanently living on any of the Aran Islands, you may get up to
12 single (or 6 return) air trips each year between the islands and the
mainland. People who live permanently on Tory Island (Co. Donegal) are entitled
to a 8 (or 4 return) free journeys on the seasonal helicopter service operating
between the island and the mainland.
There are no restrictions on the times at which you can use your Free Travel
Pass. Therefore, there is no need for unrestricted passes, permitting free
travel at peak times.
If you lose your Free Travel Pass
If you lose your Free Travel Pass or if it is stolen, you should fill in form FT27
(pdf) for a replacement Free Travel Pass. Part of this form must be filled
in by a Garda at your local Garda Station.
How to apply
If you are aged 66 or over and are getting a social welfare pension, the
Free Travel Pass will issue automatically. If you are under age 66, you will
get a Free Travel Pass automatically when you are awarded an Invalidity
Pension, a Blind Pension, Disability Allowance or Carer’s Allowance. In all
other circumstances, you must apply for free travel by completing a Free
Travel application form FT1 (pdf).
You can also obtain this form and other additional information from the
Department of Social Protection - see 'Where to apply' below. The form is also
available at your local post office.
If you are married or in a civil partnership and either of you apply for a
Free Travel Pass or are issued one automatically, the appropriate type of pass
(to allow your spouse or civil partner to accompany you free of charge) will be
issued. If you are cohabiting, you must apply for this type of pass by
completing PART 2 of the above application form. If you already have a Free
Travel Pass (single status), you should return it with the application form.
People living in Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Galway or Waterford must exchange
the Free Travel Pass for a photo pass at the CIE office in the city - see
'Where to apply' below.
Where to apply
Free Travel Section
Social Welfare Services
Tel:(071) 915 7100
Locall:1890 500 000
You can email the Free Travel section using the secure Free
Travel enquiry form. If you wish to talk to someone face-to-face about your
entitlements, you can visit your local Citizens Information centre, social
welfare local office or Intreo centre.
If you live in Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Galway or Waterford, and you
have already received your Free Travel Pass, you must exchange the Free Travel
Pass for a photo pass at the CIE office in your city. The addresses for the CIE
offices are listed below.
59 Upper O'Connell Street
Tel:(01) 872 0000
Bus Eireann - Cork
Tel:(021) 450 8188
Bus Eireann - Limerick
Tel:(061) 31 3333
Bus Eireann - Waterford
Tel:(051) 87 9000
Bus Eireann - Galway
Tel:(091) 56 2000