Bus pass for young people rollout in 2021-22
Free bus travel for people under the age of 19 will be rolled out “as soon as practicable” in the next year.
Draft legislation to extend the concessionary travel scheme has been laid before the Scottish Parliament.
Once rolled out, it will see 770,000 young people in Scotland become eligible, as well as providing free travel for adults accompanying a disabled child under five.
Transport secretary Michael Matheson said: “With young people having been disproportionately impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s 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’s good news for bus operators. 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.
“The Scottish Government believes in our young people and in public transport.”
A consultation on the proposals found overwhelming support for the scheme, with 91 per cent of people responding positively.
It will be rolled out during the 2021-22 financial year.
Young people aged five to 18 will be able to obtain a travel card to use on eligible bus journeys. Under fives already travel for free.
Bus operators will be reimbursed for concessionary passengers.
The Scottish Greens, who supported the budget last year in return for the scheme, welcomed the legislation.
Co-leader Patrick Harvie said: “This policy will tackle inequality and the climate emergency. After the pandemic, concessionary travel will play a more important role than ever in the new normal, so we are already pushing for the scheme to be widened further with the aim of free public transport for all.”