Free Travel is available to people aged 66 or over resident in the Republic of Ireland and to people aged under 66 also resident in the State who are in receipt of certain disability-type social welfare payments or carer’s allowance It allows you to use public transport, and a large number of private bus and ferry services, free of charge.
Everyone aged 66 and over living permanently in the State is entitled to the Free Travel Scheme. Some people under 66 are also entitled. 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 companion pass may be available to allow a person to accompany the free travel pass holder. Free travel passes are non-transferrable and can only be used by the named person.
Who is eligible?
You may be entitled to free travel if you are permanently living in the State and:
- You are aged 66 or over
- You are getting Disability Allowance, Blind Pension, Carer’s 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 Blind Pension
- 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 pension.
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.
How to apply
If you are aged 66 or over and are getting a social welfare pension, the Free Travel Pass will be issued 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).
welfare.ie – Information Pack
The Department of Social Protection have produced a comprehensive Information Pack which answers the following questions:
- What is the Free Travel Scheme?
- How do I qualify for free travel?
- How do I get a Free Travel Pass?
- Can anybody join me when travelling?
- When can I use my Free Travel Pass?
- When can I not use my Free Travel Pass?
- Can I use it on any air services?
- How do I use my Free Travel Pass?
- Do I need to show proof of my identity?
- What should I do if I lose my Free Travel Pass?
- Do I ever need to return my Free Travel Pass?
- Where can I get more information?
- Appendix 1 – Free Travel Companion Pass
- Appendix 2 – Free Travel on cross-border journey’s
- Appendix 3 – All Ireland Free Travel
Cross-border and all Ireland Free Travel
You may use your Free Travel Pass to travel free on crossborder journeys between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. If you are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting and hold the correct type of Free Travel Pass, your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant may join you for free. Or, if you hold a Free Travel Companion Pass, one person aged 16 or over may join you for free.
If you live in Northern Ireland and you hold a Northern Ireland Concessionary Travel Pass you may also travel for free on cross-border journeys. However, your spouse, civil partner, cohabitant or companion cannot travel for free on such journeys unless they also hold a Concessionary Travel Pass in their own right.
Your cross-border journey must start on one side of the border and end on the other side.
You can only use one mode of transport, either bus or train for your journey. You cannot combine these and still travel for free.
You must use one through-ticket for your journey. This means, for example, that you can travel for free by train from Cork to Belfast, as long as the free ticket you got in Cork railway station clearly states Belfast as your final destination. The same applies when you travel by bus on cross-border journeys.
Listed below are the major public transport companies who accept Free Travel Passes. There may be more so check before you start your journey.
Republic of Ireland:
- Dublin Bus (except Nitelink and special airport buses)
- Bus Éireann (city services)
- Bus Éireann (long distance services)
- Iarnród Éireann (rail)
- Certain private bus and ferry services
- Ards Tours
- B & C Coaches
- Cavehill Coaches
- Logan’s Executive Travel
- Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway Company
- Mc Anulty’s Yellow Line Coach Hire
- McDermott Coach Hire
- Translink – for Metro (Belfast buses), Ulsterbus, Goldline, NI Railways and Enterprise services
Page last checked: February 2016
This webpage is for general information purposes only and while we endeavour to keep it up-to-date, errors may occur. It is very important that you check with the relevant body to ensure the information is current and is applicable to your situation: – North / South
If you would like to suggest amendments or highlight new information that could be useful to others please don’t hesitate to get in touch.