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I am interested in discounts on public transport for old people travelling in Europe.

They should be ones that need no preparation or an amount that is reasonable for a short or medium trip.

Discounts that are only available to residents or have other restrictions which cannot be easily met by a visitor are excluded.

Negative answers, e.g. there are no such discounts available in Poland, are welcome. (I am not completely sure but I could not find any.)

Examples:

Included

In Prague, over 65s can use buses and trams for free with just photo ID.

In the UK, a visitor can buy a senior railcard and get a discount.

Excluded

In the UK, at retirement age, you can get a pass for free use of local buses. However, this is only for residents so it is excluded from this question.

Europe

In this context, it means anywhere that an EU citizen can visit without a visa.

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  • 4
    This question would make a good Community Wiki
    – Traveller
    Apr 19 at 22:18
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    Do you mean "discounts available to non-residents and visitors"? Because most old-age public transport discounts (bus passes, rail passes) I'm aware of in EU countries are only available to legal residents.
    – smci
    Apr 21 at 9:22
  • @smci Yes, that is the intention. Resident only options would not be relevant in this site. I hoped that I made that clear in the body. I'll update the title.
    – badjohn
    Apr 21 at 13:56
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    It was the pleasant surprise of free busses and trams in Prague that prompted me to ask.
    – badjohn
    Apr 21 at 13:57
  • @badjohn - only two of letter 's' in 'buses'. Apr 21 at 15:10

5 Answers 5

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In Spain, people over 60 can buy a Tarjeta Dorada for €6 for a year which gives a 25% discount on long-distance and either 25% or 40% discount on regional trains operated by Renfe.

Alsa, one of the largest coach operators, also offers discounts for the over 60s, and other coach operators (too many to list here) likely to as well.

On the other hand, for local transport, the Barcelona region (Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona, AMB) only offers discounts for older people to residents whose income falls below a certain threshold, so these are not generally available to tourists (link in Spanish).

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France:

Europe:

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    Ah yes. My wife has made use of that.
    – badjohn
    Apr 19 at 21:45
  • OP doesn't mention the UK senior railcard. It's not free travel but costs £30 per year, giving ⅓ discount on many rail fairs. Apr 19 at 23:18
  • @WeatherVane Yes, I should add that. Or maybe, I drop the bit about the UK bus pass. My primary interest is discounts available to visitors not residents.
    – badjohn
    Apr 20 at 0:49
  • I have reduced the scope of the question but this remains as a good answer.
    – badjohn
    Apr 20 at 8:15
  • @WeatherVane - the UK Senior Railcard is also available for 3 years at £70, saving £20 over that period. Apr 21 at 15:12
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  • In the Centre-Val-de-Loire region, for €30/y, there is the Carte Rémi Liberté Senior, it gives 50% (off-peak, between 8h and 17h on weekdays and whole weekends) or 33% (on peak, before 8h and after 17h) savings on any regional train (TER) or bus trip inside the region and on some inter-regional trips.
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In Slovakia, citizens or permanent residents of EU countries who are older than 62 can ride the trains operated by the state-owned company ZSSK for free. However, they need a special ID that can be obtained instantly at almost any staffed railway station in Slovakia (more accurately: at those that sell seat reservations). In order to get the ID, one needs a suitable photo (2x3 cm) and a proof of citizenship (passport or government-issued ID card). Non-citizen permanent residents must also show a proof of permanent residence. Free travel is only possible in the 2nd class.

CAVEAT: One does not simply ride trains for free in Slovakia. :-) It's mandatory to "buy" a €0 ticket for each journey, in person or online.

  • In long-distance trains, there is a quota for these free tickets for each train service. If the quota is exhausted, one has an option to buy a ticket with 50% discount instead.
  • In commuter trains, there is no quota.
  • In the Tatra Electric Railway and Cog Railway (also operated by ZSSK), there's no requirement to buy the €0 tickets for each journey, one just needs to possess that special ID to enjoy free rides.
  • In InterCity trains, the free travel does not apply, but the same ID entitles its holder to buy a ticket with 50% discount. Seat reservation is necessary for those trains, and costs the same for all passengers, whether or not travelling on discounted tickets.

P.S. Although not part of the question, the same conditions also apply to full-time students under 26, with one extra requirement: they need to present a proof of their student status when requesting the free-travel ID.

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Hungary:

  • Most modes of public transportation are free of charge if you are above 65

The corresponding Government Decree (line 8 is the one about persons above 65)

  • lists the regulated domestic/regional modes in the head of columns C-D: railway, regional railway, regional bus, ferry
  • lists the regulated local modes in the head of column E: "road" and "guided", effectively this means bus, trolleybus, tram, underground/metro, and the cog-wheel train in Budapest.
  • says the foreign aspect comes from a list of EEC/EU regulations which this decree implements (in 13.§, just a bit above the linked table), one can look them up in English using these substitutions: "EK tanács" is "EC", "EGK" is "EEC".

While the EU/EEC stuff probably regulates how these kind of discounts should apply to people from other EU/EEC states, many providers explicitly say that they don't care about nationality and place of residency. Presumably they don't count on their personnel being able to check.

Notable exception in multiple ways: water transportation. Not just that only ferries are in the decree, but for example the Balaton Shipping Company goes out of its way to list that only Hungarians, EU citizens, and people with "Hungarian ID" are getting the discount, also on boats (there is a discount for pensioners on non-ferries too, just it's not 100%).

Actually I tried to read the EU/EEC regulations, but they're about broader topics, like free movement and social security stuff, somewhere I encountered something about access to public services, but making the connection still feels to require some imagination or, more probably, actual background knowledge.

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  • EU regulations only require that countries treat EU citizen residents in the same way as they treat local citizens. So if local citizen residents get a discount on public transit, so should EU citizens who are locally resident. Its allowed to not provide a discount to EU citizens who are merely visiting.
    – JonathanReez
    Apr 22 at 12:40

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