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Over 21 million bus journeys since under 22 free bus travel launched

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It has been announced today that more than 21 million bus journeys have been taken using the The Young Persons’ (under-22) Free Bus Travel Scheme which was introduced earlier this year in January.

The policy allows those who are aged between five and 22 and live in Scotland to access bus travel for free if they have the correct Young Scot National Entitlement Card (NEC).

The Scottish Government has confirmed that over half of the 930,000 individuals who are eligible have now applied to the scheme.

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Those who wish to utilise the scheme must have an eligible version of either the National Entitlement Card or a Young Scot NEC which has a blue “ITSO” dot on the card.

Image credit: Transport Scotland

Brig has reported on the scheme since its launch, including in May this year when figures suggested that less than one third of those eligible had applied for the required version of the Young Scot card.

Announcing the figures, the Scottish Government’s Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth said:

“Free bus travel helps with transport affordability, it helps our young people access education and leisure destinations – all while helping us meet our net zero targets by encouraging a shift away from cars.”

Gilruth also said that the Scottish Government will launch a promotional which will focus on those who have not previously experienced travel by bus in the past to increase .

Commenting on the published figures, Scottish Green transport spokesperson and MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife Mark Ruskell said that the level of usage “speaks volumes”, described the policy as something which has offered “vital” assistance to households during the cost of living crisis and suggested that the eligibility of the scheme should be “as far and wide as we possibly can.”

Speaking about the wider environmental benefits of bus travel, Ruskell added: “These journeys will be habit forming and ultimately lead to less cars on the road.”

You can find out more about the scheme via the specialised website here.

Featured image credit: Suzy Hazelwood via Pexels

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