A consultation on changes to the Northern Ireland Concessionary Fares Scheme has been launched by the Department for Infrastructure (DfI).
The 12-week public consultation will review eligibility for the Scheme, which has not changed since 2008.
The Scheme aims to promote accessible public transport for those most at risk of social exclusion and currently allows older people (60+) and some disabled people to travel for free or at a discounted rate using a SmartPass.
Changes being considered include raising the age of eligibility for concessionary fares to either 65 or state pension age. This change, which would apply to existing users and new applicants, would bring Northern Ireland into line with England and the Republic of Ireland.
The Department is also consulting on extending eligibility to include free travel for disabled people who currently qualify for a half fare SmartPass and a companion pass for disabled people who qualify for a pass and are unable to travel alone.
The public consultation is available here: https://www.infrastructure-ni.gov.uk/consultations/consultation-changes-concessionary-fares-scheme
Following the consultation all submissions will be analysed before recommendations are made to the Minister for Infrastructure. Should there continue to be an absence of Ministers, approval will be considered taking into account the decision-making framework set out in the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc.) Act 2022 or relevant legislation in place at the time.