May Day brings free travel for NI's pensioners

Senior citizens across Northern Ireland will be able to travel completely free on all of Northern Ireland’s transport services from May Day.

The new SmartPass launched by the Minister for Regional Development Peter Robinson on Tuesday April 30 will mean senior citizens will be able to travel free of charge on Ulsterbus, Citybus and Northern Ireland Railway services from May 1st.

Mr Robinson said: “The DRD Concessionary Fare Scheme is one of the largest in the UK and over 120,000 Smart Passes have been issued to senior citizens and disabled war veterans.

“It has been a mammoth task to design and distribute the new pass and I congratulate Translink and its team of officials and contractors. I would like to pay special tribute to the Social Security Agency and the Veterans Agency who have co-operated with my Department to ensure a high take up of the SmartPass.”

The pass also provides free travel for people who are registered blind and half-fare travel for children up to the end of their compulsory schooling.

The Senior SmartPass is one of the products of a £6.3 million ticketing project that is being sponsored by the Department for Regional Development and is expected to be completed within the next year.

Mr Robinson added: “Once Wayfarer has installed new equipment on the railways later this year, Translink will have ticket technology and an integrated fares system which will be at the forefront of public transport services in Europe. It is fitting that our pensioners will be the first passengers to benefit. I hope that the SmartPass will open many new travel opportunities for them this summer.”

Mr Robinson said that the introduction of free travel is only the start of his plans to upgrade public transport for older people. (AMcE)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

16 February 2007

All Ireland free travel for older people

Transport Minister, David Cairns, has today launched the All Ireland Free Travel Scheme for older people with the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern and Irish Social and Family Affairs Minister, Séamus Brennan at Connolly Station in Dublin.
03 April 2002
Minister lauds free travel initiative as a success story
More than 90,000 senior citizens have already applied for their SmartPasses that will entitle them to free travel with Translink, the Minister for Social Development Nigel Dodds has said.
11 December 2001
Proposal to ensure access to free transport for war disabled
Regional Development Minister, Peter Robinson has announced he intends to introduce free travel for War Disabled Pensioners under 65 years old.
23 July 2001
Eligibility for school travel passes to be extended
Regional Development Minister, Gregory Campbell, has taken action to ensure that schoolchildren will be entitled to travel at half-fare rate on public transport starting in September.
30 November 2021
Consultation Launches On Proposals For 'Charlotte's Law'
Justice Minister Naomi Long has launched a public consultation on proposals for 'Charlotte's Law'. The consultation follows a review of current law in relation to disclosure of information on the locations of victims' remains by those convicted of their killing.