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Northern Ireland


Free bus travel for young Scots


Young people under the age of 22 are set to benefit from free bus travel in the new year.


Young people under the age of 22 are set to benefit from free bus travel in the new year.

Announced by the Scottish Government earlier this month, the free travel scheme will be extended to youngsters in January 2022.

It comes after new research by Transport Scotland shows that almost two-thirds (61%) of young Scots agree that access to public transport will play a central role in the fight against climate change. 

The study also showed that 70% of young people indicate tet would use public transport more frequently if it was free.

Around 230,000 young people across Scotland will benefit from free bus travel.

New scheme is a “win, win” for youngsters

The extension of free travel brings both environmental and financial savings for Scotland’s young people.

Speaking of the new scheme, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “We are committed to giving our young people the very best chances to succeed in life. The extension of free bus travel to all under 22s will improve access to education, leisure, and work while supporting the adoption of sustainable travel behaviours early in their lives.

“COP26 must be a turning point for the world, and action must be taken if we are to ‘keep 1.5 alive’, and Governments across the world must act to support this. Adopting more sustainable travel behaviour is vital if we are to reach our world-leading goal of reducing the number of kilometres travelled by car by 20% by 2030 and reaching net-zero emissions by 2045.”

The First Minister’s sentiments were echoed by youngsters who have hailed the new scheme as a “win, win”.

“Free bus travel for young people in Scotland is a fantastic way to help tackle the climate emergency – an issue that’s so important to young people as we are the generation who will be most impacted.,” said 17-year-old Stewart who attended the scheme launch with the First Minister.

He added: “Not only will it help to reduce our carbon emissions, but it will also support young people like me to study, socialise, get to work and make the most of their lives. It’s a win-win!”


When does the new free travel scheme start?

Thousands of Scots already make use of free travel across the country, however, this is the first time young people will be able to make use of the scheme.

The Scottish Government confirmed that free bus travel will be available for young people under the age of 22 from January 31, 2022.

Government figures show that more than 900,000 people, of varying ages, will benefit from the scheme from this date.


Who else is eligible for free bus travel?

Free bus travel isn’t new in Scotland.

Anyone over the age of 60 or with a disability can make use of free bus travel in Scotland through the National Concessionary Travel Scheme.

Eligibility criteria apply when applying for National Entitlement Card and further details can be found on the Transport Scotland website here.

The application and renewal process for a National Entitlement Card (NEC) is the responsibility of individual local authorities or Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) in some areas. 

If you are looking for further information about how to apply for the scheme, you should speak with your local authority. Transport Scotland has a list of the contact details for each local authority here.

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