I would just like to give you my experience of using Free Travel and Sunflower for Hidden Disabilities (Lanyard)
As I am diagnosed a number of years, I was entitled to apply for the invalidity pension as I had made the required social welfare contributions and was no longer in paid employment. gov.ie – Invalidity Pension (www.gov.ie) This pension entitles you to free travel, which is added on to your Public Service Card Public Services Card (psc.gov.ie) and you may also be granted to have a companion or spouse to accompany you free of charge.
I was recently going to the Dail and used it to travel on Wexford bus and as it was a private company, I paid €3 to reserve ticket full price was approx. €16.50. This fee is €2.00 for Bus Eireann. I reserved the seat and gave the driver my name and he asked to scan the PS card. This service stopped on Lower Mount Street which was close to Leinster House. My return journey on this bus was from Dublin airport and overall, it was a good service/timetable. I have used it on the Luas, just show card but on the Dart, it wouldn’t work on the scanner but someone let me through. I have only tried this once on the Dart so could have just been that one station or machine.
Hidden Disability Sunflower
I ordered a sunflower for disability online but you can get them in Tesco, who use this scheme. As I was flying to Edinburgh and with the recent delays in Dublin airport, I was delighted to hear that Ryanair have just recently signed up to this. I had already checked in online and I when I was heading for the regular security area, a young man stopped me and asked “is that a lanyard “and then directed me to Fast-track. He even carried my bag as the lever had just broken so I could not wheel it. This process only took a few minutes and was great compared to the normal long wait standing in line.
As Ryanair have only recently started sunflowers for people with Disabilities, I was interested to see how it would work. The staff were quite busy but eventually I went up to ask and the lady was very helpful and said there was a delay but she would scan my boarding card and I could sit down until things started moving and then she called me to go straight into the queue, which she did.
Getting off the plane, I was asked do I have assistance but I think his English was not great and I think he meant do I need assistance, but I was fine.
Coming back to Edinburgh airport, I went to the line for assistance and families and that much quicker and easier than the main queue. No questions asked as I was wearing the Lanyard. The flight was delayed and I asked a Ryanair staff member did he know what I was wearing meant and he said to join the priority boarding line, so not quite sure if he totally understood the concept. All in all, I found Sunflowers for Hidden Disabilities very helpful and they always have new airports and businesses joining this.
While in the city of Edinburgh I seen people wearing the Lanyard but didn’t wear it myself. It might be handy for the buses to give you more time to get off on and off.
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Sometimes there were not a lot of places to sit so I Googled and ordered this stool from Amazon when I got home, it is quite easy to carry as it is lightweight at just over two pounds.
It is also advisable to have this card when travelling in Europe as it gives easy access to hospitals. gov.ie – Apply for a European Health Insurance Card in Ireland (www.gov.ie)
I think with flight delays we also need to consider medication times as may not always be able to get water at the correct time and meal times may be disrupted. I hope this is of some help and if you want to ask me anything about the above it, please get in touch and if you would like to share your experiences using the lanyard we would love to hear from you.