Concessionary Fares

COVID-19 Guidance for safer travel

The Government has now published advice for safer travel during COVID-19 as restrictions are eased.  This is available on the NI Direct website.

Applications and renewals

Processing applications and renewals for SmartPasses may be delayed due to COVID-19.

Translink No Change Policy

If you are a Half Fare SmartPass holder you should be aware that Translink is operating a “No Change” policy during COVID-19. If paying using cash please try to have the exact fare.

Face Coverings when using public transport

From the 10th July 2020 passengers using public transport  services will be required to wear a face covering.

There are exemptions to these rules for disabled people who find wearing a face covering very difficult or impossible.

You can find out more about the new regulations and exemptions from the NI Direct website.

What’s available

People aged 60 and over and some groups of disabled people are eligible for discounted travel on a range of services on production of a SmartPass.

Discounted travel is funded in most cases through the Northern Ireland Concessionary Fares Scheme, although discounted travel on rural community transport is funded through the Assisted Rural Travel Scheme.

Eligible Services in Northern Ireland

Your SmartPass can be used on all bus and train services operated by Translink in Northern Ireland.

Your SmartPass can also be used for discounted fares on the Strangford and Rathlin ferry services.

Your SmartPass can be used for discounted travel on the rural Dial-a-Lift service provided by community transport.

Travel in Ireland

People aged 65 and over can use their SmartPass  to travel free on public transport throughout the island of Ireland.

People who are registered blind can use their SmartPass to travel free point to point between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. This means you can travel from Belfast to Dublin for free but would have to pay full fare if you are travelling on to another destination in the South after visiting Dublin.

Travel in Great Britain

You cannot use your SmartPass when travelling in Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales or the Channel Islands).

Older people and disabled people from Northern Ireland can apply for Railcard which entitles you to a discount on rail fares in Great Britain.

Visit the Senior Railcard website.

Visit the Disabled Persons Railcard website.

Free travel entitlements for older people

Under the Northern Ireland Concessionary Fares Scheme people aged 60 and over are entitled to the following discounts on production of a valid SmartPass:

  • Free travel on bus and train services in Northern Ireland
  • Free transport on bus and train service throughout the island of Ireland
  • Free travel on the Strangford and Rathlin ferries

People aged 60 and over are also entitled to free travel on rural Dial-a-Lift using their SmartPass. This is through the Assisted Rural Travel Scheme.

Free travel entitlements for disabled people

Under the Northern Ireland Concessionary Fares Scheme people who are registered blind are entitled to the following discounts on production of a valid SmartPass:

  • Free travel on bus and train services in Northern Ireland
  • Free travel on point to point journeys between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland
  • Free travel on the Strangford and Rathlin Ferries 

Under the Northern Ireland Concessionary Fares Scheme People in receipt of the War Disablement Pension are entitled to the following discounts on production of a valid SmartPass:

  • Free travel on bus and train services in Northern Ireland
  • Free travel on the Strangford and Rathlin Ferries and rural Dial-a-Lift services

People who are registered blind or who are receipt of the War Disablement Pension are also entitled to free travel on rural Dial-a-Lift using their SmartPass. This is through the Assisted Rural Travel Scheme.

Half-Fare entitlements for disabled people

Under the Northern Ireland Concessionary Fares Scheme disabled people who meet the following criteria are eligible for discounted travel using a SmartPass:

  • If you get the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • If you get the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • If you have had a driving licence refused or revoked on medical grounds
  • If you have a learning difficulty
  • If you are partially sighted

This SmartPass entitles you to the following discounts:

  • A half-Fare concession on the price of a single ticket when using bus and train services in Northern Ireland.
  • A half-Fare concession on the Strangford and Rathlin Ferries

Eligible disabled people are also entitled to free travel on rural Dial-a-Lift using their SmartPass. This is through the Assisted Rural Travel Scheme.

Further information

For detailed information about eligibility for discounted travel in Northern Ireland visit the NI Direct website.

Applying for your SmartPass

You must apply for a SmartPass before you can get discounts on travel. You need to complete an application form to be issued with a free or half fare SmartPass. Forms are only available in hard copy, so if this does not work for you someone will have to fill it in for you.

People aged 60 or over are required to take their application form to a bus or train station with proof of residency and age.

The requirements for disabled people differ depending on the criteria you are applying under. Some people may have to send their forms to another agency (such as the local Health Trust) to be authorised before it is sent to Translink.

Renewing your SmartPass

SmartPasses are renewed every 5 years. You will receive a renewal form by post.

Transferring from a Half-Fare SmartPass to a free SmartPass

If you are a disabled person who has a half fare SmartPass, you can transfer to a free SmartPass once you are 60. You must complete  a new application form.

Transferring from a 60+ SmartPass to a 65+ SmartPass

If you already have a 60+ SmartPass you will be sent a renewal form when you are 65. You do not have to complete a new application form, simply complete the renewal and you will be sent your 65+ SmartPass.

Further information

For detailed information about how to apply for your SmartPass visit the NI Direct website.

Half fare concession rail day returns

Although Half fare SmartPass holders receive half off a single fare not a return journey, you can get a Day Return ticket for rail journeys in Northern Ireland.

Offers and promotions

Translink often have offers and promotions on bus and train fares. It is worth asking about offers that may make the cost of some journeys cheaper than using your Half Fare SmartPass.

Queuing for tickets

If you are a free or half fare SmartPass holder you can obtain a ticket on-board every bus or train. There is no need to stand in queues if you find this difficult.

Glider

Glider is the name for a bus service in Belfast. All SmartPass holders, including half fare, travel free on Glider services. Before boarding Glider you must touch your SmartPass on a validators. Validators are located at each end of the shelter.

For more information about using Glider services visit the Imtac website.

DATS and Dial-a-Lift

You can use your free or half fare SmartPass on rural Dial-a-Lift services but not on DATS.

Lost, stolen or faulty SmartPasses

If you lose your SmartPass or if it is faulty or stolen you should contact Translink straightaway.

For advice about what to do visit the Translink website.