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Transport Scotland announces free bus travel for under 22s

Posted: 31 January 2022 | | No comments yet

From 31 January 2022, under 22s living in Scotland can benefit from free bus travel, with the scheme set to tackle inequality, respond to the climate emergency and improve the lives of young people.

Transport for Scotland announces free bus travel for under 22s

Transport Scotland has announced that under 22s living in Scotland can benefit from free bus travel from 31 January 2022 through a Scottish government scheme that aims to transform bus travel while supporting children, young people and families.

The Young Persons’ Free Travel Scheme is administered in partnership with the Improvement Service, the National Entitlement Card Programme Office and Young Scot. The scheme has been open to all eligible children and young people – with a new National Entitlement Card (NEC) or Young Scot NEC – since 10 January 2022. However, messaging since then has focused on young people with essential need to travel to apply, aligning with COVID-19 guidance at the same time.

Tens of thousands of young people have already applied and received their card and will now be able to start travelling for free. As the programme gears up over the coming weeks, many more applications are in the pipeline.

As a result, this means that over 2.3 million people – everyone under 22, everyone over 60 and disabled people and carers – can now benefit from free bus travel in Scotland.

The Scottish Minister for Transport, Jenny Gilruth, said: “I am delighted that, from today, thanks to the Scottish government, every young person under 22 in Scotland with an entitlement card can now travel for free by bus across Scotland. Extending free bus travel will make public transport more affordable and help to give many young people wider access to more education, leisure and work opportunities. It will also support the choice to travel sustainably early in their lives.”

“Increasing bus use will help us to achieve our world-leading goal of reducing the number of kilometres travelled by car by 20 per cent by 2030 and reaching net zero emissions by 2045. It will also support local bus services to recover, as we all emerge from the most recent COVID-19 restrictions. Please remember that, to keep people safe, face coverings are still required on public transport for those aged 12 or older, unless otherwise exempt,” she added.

The Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights in Scotland, Patrick Harvie MSP, said: “This is an exciting moment for sustainable travel in Scotland. Today’s start line for free bus travel to under 22s shows how we can tackle inequality, respond to the climate emergency and improve the lives of young people through decisive government action. As we work to secure a green recovery from the pandemic, free bus travel will create new opportunities and protect our climate, while at the same time reducing financial barriers for young people right across the country.”