Free Fare ID
Disabled persons and senior citizens currently enrolled in the Benefit Access program (formerly known as Circuit Breaker, and not to be confused with our own Access Sangamon paratransit service) qualify for an SMTD Free Fare ID that allows them to ride any fixed-route bus free of charge. Benefit Access is a program administered by the Illinois Department on Aging. Click here to view the qualifications for enrolling in the program. If you do not qualify for Benefit Access, you may still be eligible for a Reduced Fare ID.
Benefit Access Enrollment
Applications for Benefit Access must be submitted online. Paper applications are not available. Several agencies are available to assist with submitting applications if you are unable to do so yourself. Note: Some agencies may require that you call to make an appointment first.
Springfield Center for Independent Living (SCIL)
330 South Grand Avenue West
Springfield, IL 62703
Area Agency on Aging for Lincoln Land
3100 Montvale Drive
Springfield, IL 62740
Senior Services of Central Illinois
(Note: This location will only assist senior citizens over the age of 65)
701 West Mason Street
Springfield, IL 62702
Requirements for Free Fare ID
Once you've been enrolled in the Benefit Access program, you may visit the SMTD administration office at 928 S. 9th Street to be issued a Free Fare ID. We will require both of the following:
1. Photo Identification
Forms of identification we will accept:
- State-issued ID or drivers license
- Previously-issued SMTD Free or Half Fare ID in decent condition (you are recognizable in the photo and the printed name is legible)
- Military Uniformed Services ID card
- Helping Hands identification card
Forms of identification we will NOT accept:
- Store reward or credit cards
- Social Security card
- Medicare card
- Previously-issued SMTD Free or Half Fare ID in poor condition (you are unrecognizable in the photo and/or the printed name is illegible)
2. Proof of Benefit Access Enrollment
If you received a Benefit Access approval document or printout, please bring it with you.
If you did not receive an approval document, we may still be able to verify your enrollment status online. However, we strongly recommend calling our administration office at (217) 522-6087 to confirm your enrollment before making the trip to our office. It may take some time for the Department on Aging to process your application.
After presenting us with your photo identification and proof of Benefit Access enrollment, we will take your picture and print out your Free Ride ID on the spot. It usually only takes a minute or two.
Free Fare ID Policy
The Free Fare ID is valid for a period of 2 years from your Benefit Access approval date. The expiration date is printed in the bottom right-hand corner of the ID. Expired IDs will still be accepted for a grace period of 1 month after the expiration date.
SMTD can only issue the Free Fare ID to those currently enrolled in the Benefit Access program. We cannot issue you a new ID if you've allowed your enrollment in the program to lapse. Refer to the Benefit Access Enrollment section at the top of this page for information on applying or reapplying for the program.
You can get a replacement Free Fare ID if yours was lost or stolen. The first ID replaced in a given Benefit Access enrollment period is issued free of charge. Any subsequent replacements issued during the same period will cost $20.00. The intent of this policy is to assert responsibility upon the passenger for the safekeeping of their ID and to deter fraudulent use of the ID.
Use With Other Agencies or Services
Some other transit agencies may accept the SMTD Free Fare ID as proof of disability. However, SMTD can only guarantee that the ID will be accepted by our fixed-route service and are not responsible for other services/agencies accepting or refusing them. Since every public transit agency throughout the state is responsible for the design and implementation of their own Free Fare ID, it is SMTD policy that we will not accept Free Fare IDs from any other transit agency as it would be nearly impossible for us to confirm the ID's validity.
It's also important to note that SMTD Free Fare IDs are only accepted on our fixed-route buses and cannot be used for the Access Sangamon paratransit service.