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Everyone aged 66 and over, legally resident and living permanently in the State (Republic of Ireland), is entitled to the Free Travel Scheme. Some people under 66 also qualify. If you qualify for Free Travel, you will be issued a card from the Department of Social Protection. You must carry your Free Travel Card with you when using public transport. In some cases, a Free Travel Companion Card is available, which allows a person to travel for free with the holder (if they are unable to travel alone). Free Travel Cards are non-transferable and can only be used by the named person.
If you abuse your entitlement to Free Travel, the Department of Social Protection 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.
The SAFE registration process establishes and verifies your identity. Your Free Travel Pass will be contained in the Public Services Card (PSC) that is issued following the SAFE registration process. You must undergo SAFE registration when requested to do so by the Department of Social Protection. Your entitlement to Free Travel will be disallowed or withdrawn if you don’t register.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 Public Services Card will eventually replace the Free Travel Pass.) The card will have “F-T” printed in a yellow octagon in the top-left-hand corner of the card.
You must show your Public Services Card to the travel operator when you are travelling on public transport. 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’ below).
There are three categories of Free Travel:
Note that the Department of Social Protection is no longer issuing paper passes.
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).
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. You must satisfy certain conditions to qualify for a Free Travel Companion Card. Entitlement to the Companion Free Travel Card may be subject to periodic review. You can read about these conditions here.
You may be entitled to Free Travel if you are legally resident and permanently living in the State and:
There are no restrictions on the times you can use your Free Travel Card.
Since 6 April 2017, under the Make Work Pay initiative, if you move from a long-term disability payment (see list below) to a job, you can keep your entitlement to Free Travel for a period of 5 years, provided you have registered for a Public Services Card.
• Disability Allowance
• Invalidity Pension
• Partial Capacity Benefit (from Invalidity Pension)
• Disablement Benefit paid along with Incapacity Supplement
• Transfer from Disability Allowance or Invalidity Pension to a Community Employment, SOLAS or Back to Work scheme.
If you are aged 66 or over and are getting a social welfare pension, the Free Travel Card will be issued automatically if you have confirmed your identity through the SAFE registration process when requested to do so. If you are not SAFE registered, you will be requested to do so before your Free Travel Card is issued to you.
If you are under age 66 and have confirmed your identity through the SAFE registration process, 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 are not SAFE registered, you will be requested to do so before your Free Travel Card is issued 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 your local post office.
If you are married or in a civil partnership and either of you applies 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 quoted above.
There are currently two 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 undergo SAFE registration and get a Public Services Card.
If your Public Services Card Free Travel is lost, stolen or damaged, you should telephone 0818 837000 to request a replacement card.