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iLink - Unlimited Bus and Rail Travel

The iLink integrated smartcard provides unlimited day, weekly and monthly bus and rail travel within specified zones across Northern Ireland. 

iLink is ideal if you regularly travel by bus and train and when you need more travel you simply top-up! iLink is available for travel on Metro, Glider, NI Railways and Ulsterbus services within 5 zones in Northern Ireland: Zones 1, 2, 3, 4 and the North West Zone.


Buy Your iLink Card

Buy your iLink Card and first top-up online now by planning your journey.

What are the Benefits?
  • It saves you money. If you travel by bus and train within specified zones, using iLink could be better value for money than buying separate bus and train tickets.

  • You can make as many journeys as you wish on your iLink Card within the Zone and time period your card has been issued for.

  • It is a safer, cash free way to make your daily bus and rail journeys.

  • iLink helps speed up boarding times on buses making overall journey times faster for everyone.

  • If you lose your iLink Card it can be 'hotlisted' (electronically deactivated) to prevent anyone else from using it fraudulently.

  • iLink Cards can only be used by one person per journey, but you can pass your card to someone else to use if they are travelling at a different time within the same zone.


Buying and Topping

You cannot top-up your iLink card online. You can top-up and/or buy iLink with day, weekly and monthly travel at

  • Main Translink bus or train stations

  • PayPoint Agents across Northern Ireland (top-up only)

  • Smartlink Agents within Greater Belfast (top-up only)

  • Metro Kiosk, Donegall Square West, Belfast

  • Visit Belfast, Donegall Square North, Belfast

  • Belfast International Airport Welcome Centre

  • George Best Belfast City Airport Welcome Centre

  • Derry Visitor & Convention Bureau

  • Queen's University Students' Union

  • On board Ulsterbus and NI Railways services (day and week top-up only / not available on board Metro or Goldline services)

You can also top-up iLink at Ticket Vending Machines at Glider halts.  You can top-up with one day, one week or one month or in varying periods of validity e.g. one week top-up followed by a one month top-up. Travel on your iLink Card is valid from the date you first use your card on a bus or train.

When you top-up iLink any additional days extend the validity of the card from the date you top-up e.g. if you have 3 days left on your card and you top-up with a further 7 days, your iLink Card immediately becomes valid for 10 days from the date you top-up, and not 3 days plus a further 7 days from the date you rst use your newly purchased travel.

Using Your Card

On Bus

  • Hold your iLink Card to the target on the ticket machine reader with the front of the card facing upwards.

  • When the card reads successfully, the machine will bleep once and the green light will light up.

  • The machine will issue you with a paper ticket showing the details of your journey. The ticket must be retained for inspection

  • If the red light appears, remove your iLink Card, then hold it to the target and try again.

On Glider

  • Top-ups are available at Ticket Vending Machines at Glider halts, then simply tap your card at the validator before boarding.

At Rail Stations

Translink Platform Validators are located at several stations on the NI Railways network so you can quickly validate your iLink Card for each leg of your journey. Where a validator machine is available you MUST use it to validate your iLink Card for each leg of your journey. If a validator machine is not available the ticket barrier staff will validate your iLink Card for you.

  • Hold your iLink Card to the target at the bottom of the validator machine.

  • When the card reads successfully, the machine will bleep once. A green light will light up and a ? symbol will appear on the screen at the top.

  • If a red light appears and an X symbol appears on the screen at the top, remove your iLink Card and speak to a member of staff.

The validator machine does not issue a ticket or receipt. It simply checks that your iLink Card is valid to make a journey. No cash is accepted or stored in a validator machine. 

On Board Trains

  • Hand your iLink Card to the conductor.

  • The conductor will validate your iLink Card for you. A ticket receipt will NOT be produced.

  • If a red light appears and an X symbol appears on the screen at the top, remove your iLink Card and speak to a member of staff.

You are required to present your iLink Card to any authorised member of Translink staff when requested. If your iLink Card does not read on a Translink ticket machine you must pay full fare for the journey and phone Translink’s SmartPass Office on 028 9075 9129 to obtain a replacement card.


Lost or Stolen Cards

If your card is lost or stolen it can be electronically cancelled or 'hotlisted'. To immediately hotlist your iLink Card please phone Translink on 028 9075 9129. You should make a note of your iLink Card number printed on the back of the card and on any ticket receipts issued, so that your card can be hotlisted.   It takes two working days before a hotlisted card becomes deactivated. Translink can then prevent unauthorised use of the card. A hotlisted card presented for travel will be confiscated. Hotlisted cards CANNOT be reactivated. Translink CANNOT prevent the unauthorised use of lost or stolen iLink Cards until they have been reported by the card holder and hotlisting has been completed.


Faulty or Damaged Cards

If your iLink Card is faulty or damaged and does not work on the bus or train, the appropriate full fare will be charged. You should return your card to; Refunds, SmartPass Office, Translink, Floor 1, 22 Great Victoria Street, Belfast, BT2 7LX.


Terms and Conditions

What terms and conditions are there to using a iLink card? Find Out More


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