Thursday, 1 April 2021
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Free Travel Scheme
245. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the entitlement to the free travel scheme at 66 years of age is dependent on a person being in receipt of the State pension; the reason this is a requirement given the scheme clearly states that it is an entitlement at 66 years of age; the reason a person must apply for the free travel scheme at 66 years of age when not in receipt of a State pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17839/21]
The Free Travel scheme provides free travel on the main public and private transport services for those eligible under the scheme. These include road, rail and ferry services provided by companies such as Bus Átha Cliath, Bus Éireann and Iarnród Éireann, as well as Luas and services provided by over 80 private transport operators. There are currently approx. 990,000 customers with direct eligibility. The estimated expenditure on free travel in 2021 is €95 million.
Everyone aged 66 and over will qualify for Free Travel, if s/he is legally resident and living permanently in the State (i.e. on an all-year-round basis).
My Department is able to automatically issue a Free Travel Pass to those who are aged 66 or over and in receipt of a social welfare pension because it has the information required to process the pass.
For a person aged 66 and over who does not fall into the category for the automatic issuing of a Free Travel Pass, it is necessary for them to complete an application form. This is to ensure that the Department has the correct and most up to date information for the applicant, thus ensuring that the Free Travel Pass is issued to the right person at the correct address and the applicant also receives the correct type of Travel pass i.e. Single Pass, Spouse/Partner/Civil or Companion pass.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.