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. 953,000 customers with direct eligibility. In Budget 2019 the funding for the free travel scheme was increased by €5 million to a total of €95 million which has been maintained for 2020.
Currently, the scheme is available to all people aged over 66 living permanently in the State. In general, to qualify for the scheme, applicants who are under age 66 must be in receipt of a qualifying payment. Qualifying schemes are invalidity pension, blind pension, disability allowance, carer’s allowance or an equivalent social security payment from a country covered by EC Regulations or one with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security Agreement.
Any changes to the eligibility criteria for this scheme must be considered in the overall policy and budgetary context.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.