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What the Free Travel Scheme is

The Free Travel Scheme allows you to travel free of charge on all public transport owned by the State. This includes bus, rail and Dublin’s LUAS with some exceptions.

Everyone aged 66 and over, legally living permanently in the State, is entitled to the Free Travel Scheme. Some people under 66 also qualify. You cannot use your existing free travel pass for free travel within Northern Ireland.

Free Travel Companion Card

In some cases, a Free Travel Companion Card is available. This card allows a companion to travel with you for free. No one else can use your Free Travel Card; it is for you only.

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 to check whether your private bus operator accepts Free Travel Cards.

When you use your Free Travel Card, you must follow the rules that apply to the type of transport you are using.

How to qualify

You may be entitled to free travel if you are legally and permanently living in the State.

The following rules also apply.

Age

You are entitled to the Free Travel Scheme if you are aged 66 or over.

Receiving benefit

You may also be entitled to free travel if you are getting:

Workplace payments

Free Travel

Free Travel is also available if you have been getting Incapacity Supplement or Workmen’s Compensation with Disablement Pension for at least 12 months.

To use the Free Travel Scheme, you must also confirm your identity through the SAFE registration process when asked to do so.

If you are aged 66 or over

The department will automatically send you the Free Travel Card if you:

  • are aged 66 or over
  • are getting a social welfare pension
  • have confirmed your identity through the SAFE registration process when asked to do so

If you have not SAFE registered, the department will ask you to do so, and then it will send you your Free Travel Card

If you are under 66

If you are under 66 and have confirmed your identity through the SAFE registration process, you will get a Free Travel Card automatically if you are awarded:

If you have not SAFE registered, you will be asked to do so before the department issues your Free Travel Card.

You can get an application form called a FT1 from your local:

Blind Pension

If you are blind or visually impaired and meet the medical conditions for Blind Pension, you may also be entitled to the Free Travel Scheme.

Specified Carer

The Free Travel Scheme is also available if you are a specified carer for a person getting:

You may be entitled to the Free Travel Scheme if you are getting a social security invalidity payment or similar payment from:

  • another EU member state
  • a country with which Ireland has had a Bilateral Social Security Agreement for at least 12 months. This type of agreement is between Ireland and another country. It protects the pension entitlements of Irish people who go to work in this country and the other way around for people coming to work in Ireland

Widow or widower

You may be entitled to the Free Travel Scheme if you are a widow or widower or a surviving civil partner aged 60 or over. In this case your late spouse or civil partner must have held a Free Travel Pass, and you must be getting one of the following payments:

Note: this pension may be a similar social security pension or benefit from an EU member state or a country with which Ireland has a bilateral social security agreement.

Northern Ireland

To avail of free travel within Northern Ireland, you must first obtain a Senior SmartPass card.

Application forms (FTNI1) for Senior smartpass cards are available at your local Social Welfare Office or at your local Citizens Information Centre.

The completed application form must be brought to your nearest local Social Welfare Office along with:

  • a recent passport standard colour photograph and
  • evidence of your identity (driving license/passport/any other form of photo id, if available) and
  • evidence of address (a recent utility bill, for example electricity/gas/phone/waste charges bill or a bank/building society/credit union statement) and
  • current Free Travel Pass

Following processing of your application, your Senior SmartPass card, together with instructions for use, will be posted direct to your home address by post. It may take up to six weeks to process the application.

There is no charge for your first Senior Smartpass card. There may be a charge for replacement cards. Please keep your Senior Smartpass card in a safe place.

Apply

Return your application with the relevant supporting documents to:

Free Travel Section

Phone:
Address:
Social Welfare Services, Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, College Road, Sligo, F91 T384

Registration Form: Free Travel Scheme (FT1)

Application from for Free Travel Scheme FT1

Download

Application Form: Over 70 Companion Free Travel Card (FT O/70)

If you already hold a Public Services Card Free Travel Companion and it is lost, stolen or damaged, please phone 1890 837000 to request a replacement - DO NOT complete this form. Complete this application form if you are aged over 70 years of age and wish to apply for a Companion Free Travel Card.

Download

Application Form: Under 70 Companion Free Travel Card (FT U/70)

If you already hold a Public Services Card Free Travel Companion and it is lost, stolen or damaged, please phone 1890 837000 to request a replacement - DO NOT complete this form.

Download

For Information on how to use your Free Travel Card click here

Operational Guidelines

Operational guidelines describe the processes and procedures that staff in the department follow when carrying out their work.