Over 50 million free bus journeys made under Scottish government’s under 22s travel scheme

Posted: 13 March 2023 | | No comments yet

The Scottish government’s free bus travel scheme for under 22s has reached 50 million journeys, offering significant benefits to young people, including independence and potential lifetime cost savings of up to £3,000.

Over 50 million free bus journeys made under Scottish government's under 22s travel scheme

Transport Scotland has announced that over 50 million free bus journeys have been made since the Scottish government had introduced free bus travel for under 22s over a year ago.

The Scottish government’s concessionary bus travel schemes are one of the most generous in the UK, with over two million people across Scotland now eligible for free bus travel. Everyone in the country under the age of 22, everyone 60 and over, as well as disabled people and companions can benefit from free bus travel.

Minister for Transport Jenny Gilruth said: “It’s really encouraging that over 50 million free bus journeys have now been made by under 22s across Scotland. This policy is a game changer for our young people – and I’m looking forward to hearing about how free bus travel is giving them more independence, confidence and flexibility in how they access services, including educational opportunities at Edinburgh College. Edinburgh in particular enjoys a high uptake with over 71,000 young people, equating to 89% of those eligible, registered for free bus travel. I’m grateful to all our partners and local authorities for helping to encourage as many young people as possible to take advantage of this vital policy, particularly during the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.”

Nearly 45 million journeys made since Scottish government introduced free bus travel for under 22s

In addition, according to Minister for Transport, Jenny Gilruth, evidence from the Child Poverty Action Group has shown that free bus travel can save a total of £3,000 in the lifetime cost of a child in Scotland.

Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights, Patrick Harvie, said: “50 million free journeys made by under 22s is a big landmark and part of an even bigger effort to promote public transport and walking, wheeling and cycling as the easiest ways get around. As we look ahead to the next 50 million journeys, I want to make sure that every young person takes up the benefit of free bus travel. The work that Barnardo’s Scotland and other partners have undertaken shows how this can be done. It’s equally heartening to hear of bus operators who are benefiting from greater levels of use from young people – helping to increase demand and make routes more viable. That makes the scheme a win-win for all passengers.”