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 card that you must carry with you when using
public transport. In some cases, a Free Travel Companion Card is available
which allows a person to travel with the holder (if they are unable to travel
alone). Free Travel Cards are non-transferable and can only be used by the
Free travel is available on all State public transport (bus, rail and
Dublin's LUAS service) with some exceptions.
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 cards. You should contact
the Department of Social Protection to check whether your private bus operator
accepts free travel cards - see 'Where to apply' below.
If you abuse your entitlement to free travel the Department will review your
entitlement to a Free Travel Card. For example, abuse could include wrongfully
presenting a card for travel or engaging in anti-social behaviour while using
the card. When you use your Free Travel Card you must also follow the rules
that apply to your mode of transport.
Free travel and Public Services Card
The Government has introduced 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. You must
register for the Public Services Card when requested to do so by the Department
in order to keep your entitlement to Free Travel. Your entitlement to Free
Travel will be disallowed or withdrawn if you don't register.
If you are entitled to free travel, when you are issued with your new Public
Services Card it will also be your Free Travel Card. The card will have F-T
printed in a yellow octagon in the top-left-hand corner of the card. You can see a
sample card on welfare.ie (pdf).
You must show your Public Services Card to the travel operator when you are
travelling on public transport. (In some cases you may be asked to scan your
Public Services Card however not all transport operators have this facility.)
When you receive your new Public Services Card, you must return your old free
travel pass to the Department of Social Protection (see 'Where to apply'
There are 3 categories of free travel:
- If FT-P is written on your Public Services Card, you
personally are entitled to free travel.
- If FT+S is written on your Public Services Card, your
spouse, partner or cohabitant can join you for free when you are travelling
(they cannot travel for free alone). Your spouse, partner or cohabitant’s
name will not be on the card.
- If FT+C is written on your Public Services Card a
companion (over 16) can travel with you for free (because you are unable to
travel alone for medical reasons).
FAQs on the Public Services Card and free travel (pdf). Note that the
Department of Social Protection is no longer issuing paper passes.
You can also read 'How
to use your public services card for free travel' (pdf).
Spouses, civil partners, cohabitants and companions
If you are entitled to free travel and you are married, in a civil
partnership or cohabiting, you are entitled to a Free Travel Card 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).
If you are unable to travel alone you may get a Free Travel Companion Card.
This allows you to be accompanied by any person over 16 years of age, free of
charge. To qualify for a Free Travel Companion Card you must satisfy certain
conditions. Entitlement to the Companion Free Travel Card may be subject to
periodic review. You can read about these conditions in the
Free Travel leaflet (SW40).
Senior SmartPass for travelling in Northern Ireland
The All Ireland Free Travel Scheme allows a Free Travel cardholder (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 Card 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 cardholders wishing to avail of the All Ireland Free Travel
scheme within Northern Ireland must first get 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/Public Services Card 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. However you can
only apply 3 weeks before your 66th birthday. If you apply more than 3 weeks
before your 66th birthday, your application will be rejected. There is further
information on the extension of the Free Travel Scheme.
You should continue to use your current Free Travel Card 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 on on 048 9075
9129 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
- You have registered for the Public Services Card when requested to do
Where free travel can be used
Free travel is available on most Iarnród Éireann, Bus Éireann, Dublin
Bus, Dart and Luas Services and on certain private bus and ferry services. Free
travel does not include some special services
such as Dublin Bus NITELINK and AIRLINK services. You may also travel free
of charge on certain cross-border services between Ireland and Northern
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 you can use your Free Travel Card.
How to apply
If you are aged 66 or over and are getting a social welfare pension, the
Free Travel Card will issue automatically if you have registered for your
Public Services Card. If you have not registered for a Public Services Card,
you will be asked to register before your Free Travel Card issues to you.
If you are under age 66 and registered for a Public Services Card, you will
get a Free Travel Card automatically when you are awarded an Invalidity
Pension, a Blind Pension, Disability Allowance or Carer’s Allowance. If you
have not registered for the Public Services Card, you will be requested to
register before your Free Travel Card issues to you.
In all other circumstances, you must apply for free travel by completing a Free
Travel application form FT1 (pdf).
You can get this form and additional information from the Department of
Social Protection - see 'Where to apply' below. The form is also available at
local post office.
If you are married or in a civil partnership and either of you apply for
free travel or are issued a card automatically, the appropriate type of card
(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 card by
completing PART 2 of the application form above.
If you are unable to travel alone you apply for a Free Travel Companion pass
separately, using either a Over 70 Companion pass form
(pdf) or an Under 70
Companion pass form (pdf).
Lost or damaged Free Travel Passes
There are currently 2 types of Free Travel Pass - a paper Free Travel Pass
and a Public Services Card Free Travel (with F-T written in the top left-hand
corner). Paper passes are no longer being issued so if you need a replacement
for a lost or damaged paper pass you must register for a Public
If your Public Services Card Free Travel is lost, stolen or damaged, you
should telephone 1890 837000 to request a replacement card.
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 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.