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Young people under 22 in Scotland can now apply for free bus travel


By Kirsty Brown

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Local MSPs have welcomed the opening of the application process for free bus travel for young people, under the age of 22 years old.

From today, all young people and children aged 5-21 years old in Scotland can apply for their new or replacement National Entitlement Card (NEC) or Young Scot NEC to access the scheme from January 31.

The scheme, extending free bus travel to everyone aged 22, builds on the Scottish Government’s commitment to providing free bus travel to all under-19’s in Scotland which started in August 2021.

The SNP MSP has welcomed the initiative which is set to benefit around 930,000 young people across Scotland and pointed to research from Transport Scotland indicating that 70 percent of young people would use public transport more frequently if it was free.

The scheme will be delivered in partnership with Transport Scotland, the Improvement Service, the National Entitlement Card Programme Office (NECPO), Young Scot, local authorities and bus operators.

Commenting MSP Karen Adam said: "The SNP continue to deliver on our commitment to deliver free bus travel for young people in Scotland.

"I am delighted that applications are now open for under 22’s to apply for free bus travel across the country.

"This is a significant step from the Scottish Government that will benefit hundreds of thousands of young people across the country.

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

"Public transport is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to travel across the country and we know that young people value public transport plays in hitting our climate change targets.

"Making bus travel free for under 22's 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.

“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.”

Fellow MSP Gillian Martin said: “This is a hugely significant commitment from the Scottish Government that will benefit hundreds of thousands of young people across the country.

"Young people are rightly challenging politicians to take bold actions to create a sustainable future for them and free bus travel is an example of what can be done to rise to this challenge.

“In my Aberdeenshire East constituency, for many young people, a bus is the main way young people without a car can travel.

"This will be a huge boost for them in helping reduce the cost of travel, which can often be a barrier.

"Travelling by bus is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to move across the country and we know that young people, in particular, value the vital role public transport plays in hitting our climate change targets.

“The 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.”


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