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Free bus travel scheme for young people hailed


By Alan Beresford

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YOUNG people under the age of 22 are being urged to apply for free bus travel.

Moray Council education committee chairwoman Councillor Sonya Warren: Free bus travel scheme is a "significant commitment".
Moray Council education committee chairwoman Councillor Sonya Warren: Free bus travel scheme is a "significant commitment".

Those aged between five and 21 are now eligible to apply for new or replacement National Entitlement Cards (NEC) or Young Scot NECs. The scheme is an extension of a commitment by the Scottish Government, made in August last year, to roll out free bus travel to those aged under 19.

Around 930,000 young people across Scotland are set to benefit, with research from Transport Scotland indicating that 70 per cent of young people would use public transport more frequently if it was free.

The scheme goes live on January 31.

Roll out of the scheme has been widely welcomed.

Moray Council's education committee chairwoman Councillor Sonya Warren (Buckie, SNP), said: "I am delighted to see that applications are now open for young people, under the age of 22, to apply for free bus travel.

"This is a significant commitment from the Scottish Government that will benefit young people in Moray and across the country.

"Travelling by bus is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to travel across the country. Young people, in particular, recognise the central role public transport plays in hitting our climate change targets.

"Making bus travel free for under 22s is not only important for helping tackle the climate emergency but it will take pressure off young people's finances and improve their access to education, leisure, and work."

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Karen Adam: NEC will "ease financial burden" on many families.
Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Karen Adam: NEC will "ease financial burden" on many families.

Banffshire and Buchan Coast SNP MSP Karen Adam said that the scheme was a win-win for young people and the environment.

"This bold action will help alleviate the burden of travel costs for many families and under 22s and also contribute toward creating a sustainable future in reducing our carbon footprint.

"The SNP Scottish Government is once again making an investment in our young people’s future, supporting them to have the best possible start in life and creating the fairer, greener Scotland that we want to build."

North East Green MSP Maggie Chapman: Bus services "crucial part of the green recovery".
North East Green MSP Maggie Chapman: Bus services "crucial part of the green recovery".

North East Green MSP Maggic Chapman noted the scheme would continue to grow in importance once Covid travel restrictions started to lift.

“Young people will be able to travel anywhere in Scotland by bus for free from the end of the month," she continued.

"I’d encourage young people who rely on buses for essential travel across the north-east or their parents to apply for new entitlement cards as soon as possible. As Covid travel restrictions start to lift more young people will be able to get onboard and enjoy the opportunity of free travel.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, bus services will be a crucial part of the green recovery while tackling the climate emergency, and this travel card will open up opportunities for young people and their families.

“I’m delighted this Green policy has gone from the drawing board to reality and despite the difficulties of Covid, essential travellers such as key workers should feel the benefit from day one.”

Information about the scheme and how to apply is now available at https://www.transport.gov.scot/concessionary-travel/young-persons-free-bus-travel-scheme/


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