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Less than half of Aberdeen city and Aberdeenshire youngsters have their free bus travel pass

By Kirsty Brown

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More than half of young people in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire who are eligible for free bus travel still haven’t been issued with a pass, latest figures show.

Anyone aged under 22 is able to register for a card that allows unlimited travel on local bus routes.

Since its introduction in January, just 18,603 cards (49 percent) have been issued in Aberdeen despite 37,600 young people being eligible.

The situation in Aberdeenshire is even worse where 51,400 youngsters are eligible for passes but only 22,610 travel cards (44 percent) have been given out.

MSP Liam Kerr described the Scottish Government’s rollout of the scheme as “abysmal” and said the application process is too complicated which is putting youngsters off from applying.

Liam Kerr.
Liam Kerr.

The north-east MSP said the take-up figures for the region and the rest of the country are humiliating for the Scottish Government and more needs to be done, particularly in schools, to get the message out to young people.

He said: “The Scottish Government’s botched handling of the scheme has been abysmal.

“Young people are clearly being put off from applying because too many obstacles have been put in their way by the complicated application process.

“The figures for the north-east make for extremely poor reading for the SNP-Green coalition and highlight that much more focus needs to be brought on our region to improve the uptake, particularly in schools.

“To make matters worse, the nationalists are refusing to pay out any compensation to those who are still having to pay fares while waiting for their card to be issued.

“They must get their act together to ensure those who need it most don’t miss out.”

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