Free bus travel for under-19s?

Scottish Government has launched a consultation on new proposals to offer free bus travel for residents in Scotland aged under-19.

Over a third of people already benefit from free bus travel in Scotland. The proposed extension of free bus travel to approximately 770,000 young people will deliver on the budget agreement, as reaffirmed in the recent Programme for Government. At the same time the proposals help realise the vision proposed through the National Transport Strategy, contributing to a transport system with reduced inequalities and one that advances equality of opportunity.

All young carers will now benefit from the wider proposed extension to the National Concessionary Travel Scheme. As such, the Scottish Government does not intend to legislate for a specific extension to recipients of the Young Carer Grant. Legislation will also be put forward to offer free travel to companions of disabled children under the age of five as part of the extension to those aged under-19.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson, said: “With approximately 770,000 young people anticipated to benefit – these are hugely exciting proposals for the future of our bus sector and for inspiring future generations to engage with sustainable transport.

“Free bus travel will help young people under the age of 19 to access education, employment and leisure – particularly those from lower income families. What we are proposing will help our young people as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst supporting the vision outlined in our National Transport Strategy for a fairer and more sustainable transport system – reducing inequalities, tackling poverty and promoting opportunity.

“I’m confident that it will support the independence of young people and encourage a greater, long term shift to more sustainable travel – largely by embedding the use of public transport in people’s behaviour from an early age.

“To respond to the climate emergency, we need a shift away from private vehicle use towards more sustainable public transport. I’m confident this step could also help encourage modal shift in how young people get around – improving air quality in our towns and cities by reducing the number of car journeys made either by them or their family, friends, or carers.”

  • The consultation closes on Monday 7 December. Access the consultation here.

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