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Delivering for Scotland #55: Free Bus Travel

The SNP is committed to investing in public transport to encourage people out of their car. In keeping with the SNP Scottish Government’s National Transport Strategy, which aims to advance equality of opportunity and take action to protect our climate, one way of doing this is through the provision of free bus travel.

In government, the SNP has protected the Concessionary Travel Scheme for the over-60s and disabled people, and extended the scheme to injured veterans. Over one million Scots now enjoy free bus travel across the country.

Following a consultation, the Scottish Government made no change to the proposed age of eligibility – the free bus pass will remain available to everyone in Scotland aged over 60. What’s more, under the 2021-22 SNP government budget, it is now being extending to all young people under the age of 22 as well.

This goes beyond an original commitment to extend concessionary travel to all under 19s. The budget deal reached will now enable arrangements to be put in place for the scheme to start operating as soon as practicable during the financial year 2021-22.

Once the scheme starts, everyone under the age of 22 will join the third of Scotland’s population who already benefit from free bus travel. The same legislation will also extend the existing National Concessionary Travel Scheme to eligible disabled children under the age of five, allowing free travel for a companion accompanying them.

This SNP Scottish Government believes in public transport and it believes in our young people. With young people having been disproportionately impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SNP believes it is right that we begin preparing to build back better as restrictions ease over the coming year.

Not only is this good news for young people, it is good news for bus operators too. They will see increased patronage from future generations, who will be able to freely discover the convenience of sustainable bus travel in accessing education, employment and for leisure.

By progressing our commitment to introduce free bus travel to young people, the Scottish Government is strengthening its response to the climate emergency, supporting our green recovery and working to reduce inequalities.

– Michael Matheson MSP

Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure & Connectivity