Free Travel


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INTERNAL GUIDELINES USED FOR PROCESSING FREE TRAVEL APPLICATIONS

INDEX

1. LEGISLATION

2. ADMINISTRATION

3. DESCRIPTION OF SCHEME/QUALIFYING CONDITIONS

  1. 3.1 What is Free Travel?
  2. 3.2 Eligibility for Free Travel
  3. 3.3 How to obtain a Free Travel Card
  4. 3.4 Free Travel for applicant's Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant
  5. 3.5 Free Travel for a Companion
  6. 3.6 When can a Free Travel Card/Pass be used?
  7. 3.7 When is Free Travel not available?
  8. 3.8 How to use a Free Travel Pass
  9. 3.9 Evidence of Identity
  10. 3.10 What to do if the Free Travel Card/Pass is lost/stolen or damaged?
  11. 3.11 When must a Free Travel Pass be returned?
  12. 3.12 Further Information
  13. 3.13 Misuse or fraudulent use of the Free Travel Pass/Card

4. APPLICATION GUIDELINES

  1. 4.1 Need to Apply?
  2. 4.2 Read the Information Leaflet
  3. 4.3 Complete the Application Form
  4. 4.4 Free Travel Companion 

5. FREE TRAVEL ENTITLEMENT MONITORING

  1. 5.1 How long does Free Travel entitlement continue?
  2. 5.2 Free Travel retention
  3. 5.3 What if the Free Travel Recipient dies?

6. REQUESTS FOR REVIEW OF DECISION

APPENDICES

  1. APPENDIX 1: Eligibility for Companion Free Travel
  2. APPENDIX 2: Special Free Travel Arrangements.
  3. APPENDIX 3: Cross Border Free Travel
  4. APPENDIX 4: All Ireland Free Travel Scheme (AIFT)

1. LEGISLATION

The Free Travel Scheme is non-statutory, having been introduced and extended by Ministerial Announcement.

2. ADMINISTRATION

The Free Travel Scheme is administered by the Free Travel Section, in the Social Welfare Services Office, Sligo.

3. DESCRIPTION OF SCHEME/QUALIFYING CONDITIONS:

3.1 WHAT IS FREE TRAVEL?

The Free Travel Scheme operated by the Department of Social Protection, allows people who are aged 66 years or over and who are permanently residing in the State, to travel free of charge on most CIE public transport services, LUAS, as well as on the public transport services of a large number of private operators in various parts of the country. Certain incapacitated people under age 66 are also entitled to free travel.

CIE services are provided by Iarnrod Eireann, Bus Eireann and Bus Atha Cliath. A list of private operators who participate in the Free Travel scheme can be obtained from Free Travel Section.

Permanent residents of the Aran Islands and Tory Island may avail of Free Travel on scheduled private air services between the Islands and the mainland. Free Travel on these services, to and from the Aran Islands (only) is available to non resident Free Travel Card Holders at a reduced rate - See Appendix 2 of this Guide for full details.

Free Travel is also available on Cross-Border bus and rail journeys between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. - Details of the special arrangements which apply to Cross-Border Free Travel are given in Appendix 3 of this Guide.

In addition, if you are aged 66 or over, the All Ireland Free Travel Scheme will entitle you to travel for free on transport services operating internally within Northern Ireland, using a Senior SmartPass card. See Appendix 4 for full details.

3.2 ELIGIBILITY FOR FREE TRAVEL?

An applicant will qualify for Free Travel, if s/he is living permanently in the State (i.e. on an all-year-round basis) and is aged 66 or over and is registered for the Public Services Card. If the applicant is under age 66, in addition to permanently residing in the State and is registered for the Public Services Card, s/he must satisfy any of the conditions below;

  1. be a recipient of one of the following payments;
    • Invalidity Pension
    • Blind Person's Pension
    • Disability Allowance (DA)
    • Carer's Allowance (you may get a single status card only, if you are aged under 66)
    • Incapacity Supplement or Workmen's Compensation Supplement with Disablement Pension, for at least 12 months
    • a Social Security Invalidity/Incapacity Pension/Benefit, or an equivalent payment, for at least 12 months, from a country covered by EC Regulations ( see below for details), or from a country with which Ireland has a bilateral Social Security Agreement ( see below for details)
  2. Be a specified carer for a person getting Constant Attendance Allowance or Prescribed Relatives Allowance from this Department (you may get a single status card only, if you are under age 66)
  3. s/he is blind or severely visually impaired and you satisfy the medical conditions for a Blind Pension.
  4. be a widowed person/surviving civil partner aged between 60 and 65 years inclusive, whose late spouse/civil partner held a Free Travel Pass/Card from this Department, and who at the time of his/her death, resided with him/her on a permanent basis, and who is now receiving one of the following payments and who satisfies the other conditions of the scheme;
    • State Pension (Transition), (payable at age 65)
    • Widow/Widowers/Surviving Civil Partners Contributory or Non-Contributory Pension
    • Widow/Widowers/Surviving Civil Partners Pension under the Occupational Injuries Benefits Scheme
    • One-Parent-Family Payment
    • Widow's or Widower's Pension under the Occupational Injuries Benefit Scheme
    • An equivalent Social Security Pension/Benefit from a country covered by EC Regulations, or from a country with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security Agreement
    • an ORDINARY Garda Widow's Pension from the Department of Justice

Countries covered by EC Regulations; Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Cyprus (Cyprus South), Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom.

Countries with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security Agreement; Australia, Austria, Canada, Korea, New Zealand, the United States of America, Quebec, Switzerland.

3.3 HOW TO OBTAIN A FREE TRAVEL CARD/PASS?

A Free Travel Card will be issued automatically at age 66 if the applicant is registered for the Public Services Card and getting a Pension from this Department. Likewise, if the applicant is under age 66, a Free Travel Card will issue on being awarded an Invalidity Pension, Blind Person's Pension, Disability Allowance, or a Carer's Allowance.

In all other circumstances, a person must apply for a Free Travel Card by completing an Application Form ( FT1) which is available from their local Post Office or their nearest Social Welfare Local Office. The completed form, along with any supporting documentation required, should be forwarded to the following address:

Department of Social Protection
Free Travel Section
Social Welfare Services Office
College Road
Sligo 

If you are not registered for the Public Services Card, you will be issued with a letter  requesting you to make an appointment to register. If you do not register for the Public  Services Card, you will not be awarded Free Travel. If you are already in receipt of Free Travel and you are requested to register for  the Public Services Card and you fail to do so,your Free Travel entitlement will be withdrawn.​

3.4 FREE TRAVEL FOR THE APPLICANT'S SPOUSE/CIVIL ​​PARTNER/COHABITANT

Where a Free Travel applicant is married, in a Civil Partnership or co-habiting, s/he may be entitled to a Free Travel Card that will allow the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant to accompany the card holder free of charge when travelling. (This does not apply to persons under age 66 who are in receipt of Carer's Allowance or who are nominated carers for people getting a Constant Attendance Allowance or Prescribed Relatives Allowance from this Department).

3.5 FREE TRAVEL FOR A COMPANION (where the applicant is unfit to travel alone)

Certain incapacitated people who are medically unfit to travel alone are entitled to a Companion Free Travel Card. This type of card allows any one person, aged 16 years or over (not necessarily the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant), to accompany the card holder free of charge, when travelling. The conditions for receipt of a Companion Free Travel Card are set out in Appendix 1 of this Guide.

3.6 WHEN CAN A FREE TRAVEL CARD BE USED?

A Free Travel Card may be used to travel free of charge on the following transport services at anytime on scheduled services:

  • Bus Atha Cliath
    (NITELINK, AIRLINK and Special Airport services are excluded)
  • Bus Eireann
  • Provincial City Services in Cork and Limerick cities
  • Iarnrod Eireann
  • DART
  • LUAS
  • Participating private bus and ferry services
  • Participating Cross-Border scheduled services (Between Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland - See Appendix 3)

3.7 WHEN IS FREE TRAVEL NOT AVAILABLE?

Free Travel is not available

  1. on services which are not listed in the official rail and bus time-tables of Bus Atha Cliath, Bus Eireann or Iarnrod Eireann
  2. on excursion and special bus or rail services
  3. on organised group journeys
  4. on Bus Atha Cliath NITELINK and AIRLINK services
  5. on Bus Atha Cliath special Airport services
  6. on First Class or Super Class travel on any service (unless the appropriate fare supplement is paid)

3.8 HOW TO USE A FREE TRAVEL CARD/PASS

FREE TRAVEL PASS (PAPER)

If travelling by Bus Atha Cliath, Bus Eireann or on private bus operator services, the pass holder must produce their Free Travel Card to the bus driver on boarding the bus. A bus ticket is not issued, nor required.

Before using Iarnrod Eireann Mainline, DART or Outer Suburban services, the pass holder must present his/her Free Travel Card at the ticket booking desk in the train station of departure, in order to obtain a free rail ticket. If undertaking a day return journey only, the pass holder will be issued with a Day Return ticket. In all other cases, a Single journey ticket will be issued, and a further Single journey ticket must be obtained before making the return journey.

When using Private Ferry services, the pass holder should present his/her Free Travel Pass to the Ferry Operator. In some instances, a ticket will be issued.

 

PUBLIC SERVICES CARD FREE TRAVEL (PSC FT)

Please check with the individual operator for availability of Integrated Ticketing Systems (ITS).

Using your PSC FT on Dublin Bus

  1. If travelling on your own, touch your card against the Validator on the right hand side as you enter the bus until you hear the beep and/or see the green light flash. 
  2. If you have a companion or spouse with you, place your card on the reader by the driver, and request a ticket for that person; who should have the ticket ready for inspection at all stages of the journey

Using your PSC FT on Iarnród Éireann services (including DART)

  1. If travelling on your own, touch your card against the Validator on either the gate or pole at your station.  Remove the card when you hear a beep or see the green light.
  2. If you have a companion or spouse with you, you will need to visit the ticket desk and request a ticket for that person, who should have the ticket ready for inspection at all stages of the journey

Using your PSC FT on Luas services

  1. Touch your card against the Validator on the platform before and after your trip.  Remove the card when you hear a beep or see the green light.

Using your PSC FT on all other bus services

  1. If travelling on your own, place your card on the card reader either at the bus entrance or by the driver.  Remove the card when you hear a beep
  2. If you have a companion or spouse with you, tell the driver and he or she will issue them with a ticket.

Need assistance when travelling with your PSC FT?
Do not hesitate to ask a driver or any member of staff who will be able to assist you

3.9 EVIDENCE OF IDENTITY

FREE TRAVEL PASS (PAPER)

Whenever a person is travelling using their free travel entitlement, s/he must produce their paper pass for inspection to an Inspector of the Transport Operator or to an Official of the Department of Social Protection, if asked. If considered necessary, the free travel recipient and/or his/her accompanying spouse/civil partner/cohabitant must also produce evidence of their identity by providing a sample of signature or photographic ID to the officials mentioned above. These officials have the authority to confiscate a Free Travel Pass if there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the pass is being misused.

In addition, if you live in Dublin, Cork city, Waterford city, Limerick city or Galway city you must also produce a Free Travel Photo ID if you have a paper free travel pass.

You may also be required to provide proof of identification irrespective of where you reside or photographic id. This may be a condition of travel as outlined by the travel operator in question but notification of this should be advertised by the Operator either on their bus or by way of their website so that all intending passengers are fully aware of all documentation necessary to travel.

Public Services Card Free Travel

If you have a Public Services Card Free Travel, you do not need to provide extra proof of identity.  However, if you have a companion or spouse/partner/co-habitant travelling with you (if authorized), they may be asked to provide proof of identity.

3.10 WHAT TO DO IF THE FREE TRAVEL PASS/CARD IS LOST/STOLEN or DAMAGED?

FREE TRAVEL PASS (PAPER)

If a paper Free Travel pass is lost/ stolen or damaged, the pass holder should contact their nearest SAFE registration location to arrange an appointment to register for the Public Services Card Free Travel, and when they have registered, they will be issued with a Public Services Card Free Travel.

Alternatively, the pass holder may complete form PSC FT 1.  This form is available on request from the Department's Free Travel Section or can be downloaded from the Department's website at 'www.welfare.ie'. Please note that you will then be issued with a letter requesting you to register for the Public Services Card Free Travel.  When you have successfully registered for the Public Services Card you will be issued with your new PSC FT.  If you do not register for the Public Services Card your free travel entitlement will cease.

PUBLIC SERVICES CARD FREE TRAVEL (PSC FT)

If you have one of the new Public Services Card (PSC) + Free Travel and it has been lost/stolen/damaged, you must report this card as lost/stole/damaged by phoning 1890 837000 and a replacement card will issue.

3.11 IN WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES MUST THE FREE TRAVEL PASS BE RETURNED?

In the event of any of the following occurring, the paper Free Travel Pass must be returned to the address given below:

  • The pass holder is no longer in receipt of the qualifying payment which entitled them to free travel
  • The pass holder does not continue to reside on a permanent basis in the State
  • The PAPER pass holder changes address (Pass must be returned for change of address and renewal where the person holds a PAPER Free Travel Pass. Do not return if you hold a Public Services Card with Free Travel)
  • The pass holder no longer satisfies the criteria applicable to his/her particular Free Travel entitlement (Companion status will be amended as necessary, and appropriate replacement card will be issued)
  • the pass is worn or illegible
  • the pass holder is no longer in receipt of a qualifying payment
  • the pass holder is deceased

3.12 FURTHER INFORMATION

Information on the Free Travel Scheme is available from:

Free Travel Section
Social Welfare Services Office
College Road,
Sligo.

Telephone: (071) 9157100 or  LoCall 1890 500 000 (from the Republic of Ireland only).

 

3.13 MISUSE OR FRAUDULENT USE OF THE FREE TRAVEL CARD/PASS

The Free Travel Card/Pass is a very valuable document which is for your personal use only and is not transferable for use by any other person. It remains the property of the Minister for Social Protection. The misuse of this card is a fraudulent offence. The offender may be prosecuted under relevant bye-laws applicable to the transport company. Fraudulent use includes giving the card to another person or re-producing the card. The Department takes any claim of misuse of a Free Travel card very seriously and where it is found that a person is fraudulently using the card or has given their card to another person to use fraudulently, their entitlement to Free Travel will be reviewed.

Events which may affect entitlement to a Free Travel Pass

The following is a list of events that may affect your entitlement to Free Travel and if any of these events occur or your circumstances change, you must notify the Department immediately:-

  • You are no longer in receipt of a qualifying payment from this Department.
  • See here for qualifying criteria.
  • Your marital status changes.
  • You are no longer living in the State.

This card/pass should be returned to the Department of Social Protection on the death of the holder.

4. APPLICATION GUIDELINES:

4.1 NEED TO APPLY?

Where a person is receiving a pension from this Department and living permanently in the State, and is NOT registered for the Public Services Card, they will receive a letter inviting them to make an appointment to register for the Public Services card.  Once that person has successfully registered, they will be automatically issued with the Public Services Card Free Travel.

A person aged under 66 years, who is awarded any of the payments listed below and who is registered for the Public Services Card will be automatically issued a Public Services Card Free Travel.

Where a person is awarded any of the payments listed below, and is NOT registered for the Public Services Card, they will receive a letter inviting them to make an appointment to register for the Public Services card.  Once that person has successfully registered, they will be automatically issued with the Public Services Card Free Travel.

  • Invalidity Pension
  • Blind Person's Pension
  • Disability Allowance
  • Carer's Allowance

If you are not in receipt of any of the above, you must complete an application form, FT1. This form is available from your local post office or from Free Travel Section at the address given at Section 3.3

4.2 READ THE INFORMATION LEAFLET

Before completing Form FT 1, the applicant should first read Information Leaflet SW 40 for details of the qualifying conditions for Free Travel.

4.3 COMPLETE THE FORM

Applicants should ensure that the following has been done before submitting their application form:

  • Birth/Marriage Certificates, as required, are enclosed
  • Medical Certification, where necessary, is submitted.
  • Application form is signed and dated.
  • PPS Number (Personal Public Service) is supplied. If you do not know this number, please contact your local Social Welfare Office.

4.4 FREE TRAVEL COMPANION

See Appendix 1 of this Guide.

5. FREE TRAVEL ENTITLEMENT MONITORING

5.1 HOW LONG DOES FREE TRAVEL ENTITLEMENT CONTINUE?

Where the card holder is aged 66 years or over, Free Travel entitlement continues as long as s/he permanently resides in the State.

Where the card holder is aged under 66 years, Free Travel entitlement continues as long as s/he permanently resides in the State, and continues to receive one of the qualifying payments for Free Travel listed in Section 3.2 of this Guide.

5.2 FREE TRAVEL RETENTION

Where a card holder transfers to another payment from the Department of Social Protection, or participates in certain types of community work projects:

A person who is in receipt of free travel and receiving Disability Allowance or Blind Person's Pension who transfers to a Back-to-Work Allowance scheme (BTWA) may retain his/her Free Travel Card for the duration of the BTWA payment (up to 3 years for most transferees, but 4 years for people in designated Partnership Areas, who take up self employment).

Aperson who is in receipt of free travel and who participates in a Community Employment project, an Employee Support Scheme or a Pilot Project for People with Disabilities, is entitled to retain the Free Travel Card for the duration of the project.

A person who receives Invalidity Pension, Disability Allowance or Blind Pension, may retain their Free Travel, if held, on transfer to another primary long term Department of Social Protection payment (excluding Jobseeker's Benefit/Allowance, Illness Benefit and Pre-Retirement Allowance, One-Parent Family Payment and Carer's Benefit or as a Qualified Adult on their spouse/civil partner/co-habitant’s payment). A person who transfers from any primary payment (and had an entitlement to Free Travel) to receive an Increase for Qualified Adult (IQA) on their spouses/civil partner/cohabitant’s DSP payment, will lose their entitlement to free travel.

5.3 WHAT HAPPENS IF THE FREE TRAVEL RECIPIENT DIES?

The representative(s) of the deceased should return the Free Travel Card/Pass to Free Travel Section.

6. REQUESTS FOR CASE REVIEW

As the Free Travel Scheme is a Non-Statutory Scheme, there is no legislative right of appeal to the Social Welfare services Office. However, a person who is dissatisfied with a decision in relation to his/her application for Free Travel is entitled to a review by another and more senior official of the Department.

Any person who wishes to have a decision reviewed should write to Free Travel Section, Social Welfare Services Office, College Road, Sligo, stating in detail why s/he thinks the decision is incorrect.

The case will be considered fully and fairly, and the person notified in writing of the outcome, at an early date.


Appendices

APPENDIX 1 - ELIGIBILITY FOR COMPANION FREE TRAVEL:

A Companion Free Travel Card entitles the holder to have any one person, aged 16 years or over, to accompany him/her free of charge when travelling. Entitlement to the Companion Free Travel Card may be subject to periodic review.

The following people are eligible to receive a Companion Free Travel Card:

Free Travel Cardholders aged 66 or over

  • You are aged 66 to 69 inclusive and are medically assessed as unfit to travel alone.
  • You are aged 70 or over and are medically unfit to travel alone.
  • You are receiving full-time care and attention from someone who is getting Carers Allowance from this Department.
  • You are certified by either the Irish Wheelchair Association or by your GP as being a permanent wheelchair user.
  • You are blind or severely visually impaired and
    • satisfy the blindness condition for the Blind Pension or
    • you are registered as a blind person with either the National Council for the Blind of Ireland or the National League of the Blind of Ireland.

Free Travel Cardholders aged under 66

  • You are getting Disability Allowance or Invalidity Pension or Disablement Pension and Incapacity Supplement and are medically assessed as unfit to travel alone.
  • You are blind or severely visually impaired and you:
    • are getting a Blind Pension or
    • satisfy the blindness codition for the Blind Pension or
    • are registered as a blind person with either the National Council for the Blind of Ireland or the National League of the Blind of Ireland.
  • You are getting one of the qualifying payments listed at Section 3.2 and you are certified by either the Irish Wheelchair Association or by your GP as being a permanent wheelchair user.
  • You are receiving full-time care and attention from someone who is getting Carers Allowance from this Department. To qualify for a companion pass based on this condition, you must be entitled to a Free Travel Card in your own right. See conditions for free travel (Section 3.2)
  • You are a widowed person/surviving civil partner aged between 60 and 65 years inclusive, whose late spouse/civil partner held a Free Travel Card from this Department, and who at the time of his/her death, resided with him/her on a permanent basis, and who is now receiving one of the following payments and who satisfies the other conditions of the scheme;
    • State Pension (Transition), (payable at age 65)
    • Widow/Widowers/Surviving Civil Partners Contributory or Non-Contributory Pension
    • Widow/Widowers/Surviving Civil Partners Pension under the Occupational Injuries Benefits Scheme
    • One-Parent Family Payment
    • Widow’s or Widower’s Pension under the Occupational Injuries Benefit Scheme
    • An equivalent Social Security Pension/Benefit from a country covered by EC Regulations, or from a country with which Ireland has a Bilateral social Security Agreement
    • an ORDINARY Garda Widow’s Pension from the Department of Justice.

Free Travel Companion Card for a visually - impaired child:

A visually impaired child will qualify for a Free Travel Companion Card if they are under age 18 and either they:

  • satisfy the blindness condition for a Blind Pension, or
  • are registered with the National Council for the Blind or the National League of the Blind of Ireland

APPENDIX 2 - SPECIAL FREE TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS

AIRLINE SERVICE TO/FROM THE ARAN ISLANDS, CO. GALWAY

Persons who have a Free Travel entitlement and who are residing on a permanent basis on any of the Aran Islands (i.e. Inis Mor, Inis Meain, Inisheer), are entitled to travel free of charge on Aer Arann services from the islands to Galway City and vice versa. Aer Arann operates an airline service between the Aran Islands and Aerphort Chonamara at Indreabhan, Co. Galway. The company also provides a shuttle bus service between Aerphort Chonamara and Galway City.

A Free Travel recipient may undertake up to 12 single journeys (or up to 6 return journeys between the Aran Islands and Galway City each year. Any number of additional journeys may also be made at a special reduced rate. Where the appropriate type of Free Travel card is held, the Free Travel recipient's spouse/civil partner/cohabitant may accompany him/her free of charge on these trips. If a Companion Free Travel Card is held, any one person, aged 16 years or over, may accompany the Free Travel recipient free of charge.

Free Travel recipients not permanently residing on the Aran Islands may travel on Aer Arann's airline and bus services between Galway City and the Aran Islands at a reduced cost. The Free Travel recipient's spouse/partner, or a companion may accompany him/her at the reduced rate, where the appropriate type of Card is held (This concession also applies to Northern Ireland Travel Card holders undertaking cross-border journeys to and from the Aran Islands (but not to their spouse or companion, unless s/he is a Card holder in his/her own right - See APPENDIX 3, first paragraph).

HELICOPTER SERVICE TO/FROM TORY ISLAND, CO DONEGAL

Free Travel recipients residing on a permanent basis on Tory Island, Co. Donegal, are entitled to travel free of charge on the helicopter service, which is operated during the Winter period only, between the island and Falcarragh on the mainland. A Free Travel recipient may undertake up to 8 single (or up to 4 return) journeys each year. The spouse/civil partner/cohabitant or companion of the Free Travel recipient may accompany you him/her free of charge, where the appropriate type of Free Travel Card is held.

APPENDIX 3 - CROSS BORDER FREE TRAVEL

CROSS-BORDER FREE TRAVEL

A Free Travel Card may be used to travel free of charge on cross-border journeys between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and vice versa. The card holder's spouse/partner person may accompany him/her free of charge where the appropriate type of card is held. Alternatively, if the Free Travel recipient holds a Companion Free Travel Card, any one companion aged 16 years or over may accompany him/her free of charge.

Residents of Northern Ireland who hold a Northern Ireland Concessionary Travel Card may also travel free on cross-border journeys. However, the spouse/partners or companions of Northern Ireland Card Holders are not entitled to Free Travel on such journeys unless they also hold a Concession Travel Card in their own right.

EXTENT OF FREE CROSS-BORDER JOURNEYS AVAILABLE

A Cross-Border Free Travel journey must originate in one jurisdiction and terminate in the other jurisdiction.

The Cross-Border journey may be undertaken using one mode of transport only i.e. bus or train. It is not possible to use a combination of both modes of transport.

The journey must be undertaken on the basis of one through-ticket. This means, for example, that the Free Travel recipient can travel free by train from say, Cork to Belfast, provided that the free ticket which s/he obtained in the Cork railway station clearly denotes Belfast as the final destination. The same principle applies when travelling by bus on Cross-Border journeys.

TRANSPORT OPERATORS WHO PROVIDE FREE CROSS-BORDER TRAVEL

The following Transport Operators provide Cross-Border Free Travel services for both Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland Free Travel recipients:

  1. Bus Eireann
  2. Ulsterbus
  3. Iarnrod Eireann
  4. Halpenny Transport Ltd., Blackrock, Dundalk, Co. Louth.
  5. Patrick Gallagher, Brinalack, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
  6. Foyle Coaches, Clar, Redcastle, Co. Donegal

TRAVELLING BY BUS

When travelling by bus, the Free Travel Card should be presented to the bus driver, on boarding the bus, before departure.

On Bus Eireann and Ulsterbus services, the bus driver will issue the Free Travel recipient with a single journey ticket. This ticket is valid on the date of issue only. If the Free Travel recipient wishes to undertake a return Cross-Border bus journey, s/he should get a single journey ticket for the outward part of the journey, and later, a further single journey ticket for the homeward journey.

If travelling with any of the other bus operators mentioned in above, the Free Travel recipient will be issued with either a single or a return journey ticket as required.

TRAVEL BY RAIL

To undertake a Cross-Border journey by train, the Free Travel recipient must first complete a Travel Warrant. Warrants are available in most train stations in Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland, in Information Offices of the Department of Social Protection (Republic of Ireland) and in Offices of the Department of Social Security (Northern Ireland). The Free Travel recipient should present the completed warrant and his/her Travel Card at the ticket desk in the train station of departure. S/he will then be issued with either a free single or a free return Standard Class ticket as required.

The Free Travel entitlement is Standard Class travel. If the Free Travel recipient wishes to travel "First Plus" class, s/he may do so on payment of the appropriate fare supplement.

To avoid unnecessary delay at the ticket desk, the Free Travel recipient should complete the Warrant well in advance of undertaking the rail journey and obtain a free rail ticket at least 15 minutes before the train is due to depart.

BREAKS IN CROSS-BORDER RAIL JOURNEYS

It is not necessary to complete a Cross-Border Free Travel train journey in one day. For example, if travelling from Cork to Belfast, the Free Travel recipient may spend up to 2 nights in Dublin as part of his/her journey. However, the outward part of the journey must be fully completed within 3 days of the date of issue of the ticket.

TRANSFER BETWEEN CONNOLLY AND HEUSTON RAILWAY STATIONS

If, as part of a Cross-Border Free Travel rail journey, the Free Travel recipient has to transfer between Connolly and Heuston stations in Dublin, s/he may travel free of charge on Bus Atha Cliath's route no. 90 bus.

REFUNDS/DISCOUNTS

No monetary refunds or discounts will be given for late train departures, or for any other delays experienced while undertaking a Cross-Border Free Travel journey.

APPENDIX 4 - All Ireland Free Travel Scheme (AIFT)

What is It?

Since April 2007, the All Ireland Free Travel Scheme allows a Free Travel recipient to travel for free on the various travel services operating within Northern Ireland.

Similarly Northern Ireland Senior SmartPass holders are entitled to travel for free on services within the Republic of Ireland using their existing Senior SmartPass.

Who can travel?

  • To qualify for free travel within Northern Ireland, you must be in receipt of a Free Travel Card and aged 66 years or over
  • Under the terms of the concessionary fares scheme in Northern Ireland, only Free Travel recipients over age 66 are entitled to travel free of charge in Northern Ireland. The spouse/partner or companion is not eligible to accompany the Free Travel recipient for free in Northern Ireland under this scheme.
  • Similarly only the Northern Ireland Free Travel recipient is eligible for Free Travel in Republic of Ireland i.e. no spouse/companion.
  • A spouse/partner or companion may continue to travel with the Free Travel recipient for free on cross-border journeys (i.e. journeys starting in the Republic of Ireland and ending in Northern Ireland or vice versa).
  • Free Travel recipients wishing to avail of All Ireland Free Travel within Northern Ireland must first obtain a Senior SmartPass card. This Senior SmartPass must be used while travelling in Northern Ireland only.

How can a customer get a Senior SmartPass?

  • An application form (FTNI1) must be completed (using black pen or biro). As these forms are individually bar coded, photocopies cannot be used.
  • This application must be brought to the customers nearest Social Welfare Local Office ( See note below) along with:
    • A recent passport standard colour photograph, and
    • Evidence of identity (driving licence/passport/any other form of photo id, if available), and
    • Evidence of address (a recent utility bill, e.g. electricity/gas/phone/waste charges bill or a bank/building society/credit union statement), and
    • Current Free Travel Card/Pass
  • Following processing of the application, a Senior SmartPass card, together with instructions for use, will be posted direct to the customer's home address by post. It may take up to six weeks to process the application.

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 expires. 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 048 90 75 91 29 who will send you a renewal application.

 Note:
Details of Local Offices are listed in the SW 4, on the green pages of the phone directory and also on the Department's website 'www.welfare.ie'

Last modified:29/09/2016
 

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