Free bus travel for young people in Scotland

Young people aged 18 and under are set to get free bus travel in Scotland, thanks to the Scottish Green Party.

The Scottish Government has agreed to work to implement free bus travel for young people in Scotland, in a major win for the Scottish Greens as part of the Scottish budget process.

This means from 2021 young people across Scotland should be able to travel for free on bus routes, in a similar way to the entitlement currently held by over-60s.

The budget deal also puts an additional £95m towards local services across Scotland such as schools and libraries.

Commenting, Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie said: “Free bus travel for young people is a transformational step towards tackling the climate emergency. This scheme will benefit young people starting college and families, some of whom stand to save thousands of pounds a year, and encourage whole generations of public transport users.

“Buses are the backbone of local public transport and the key to employment and training opportunities for so many of those starting out in life.

“Yet again it’s the Scottish Greens who have engaged constructively in the budget process to deliver for communities in Scotland. Clearly, a Green budget would do even more to tackle the climate emergency, but securing this important free bus travel deal for the next generation builds on the powers we won for local councils to take control of local bus services. It is the Scottish Greens who are leading the change.

“And as we have done in every year we have struck a deal, the Greens have prioritised funding for local government, securing an additional £95m for libraries, schools and other local services.”

As part of the deal, Scottish Greens have also secured additional funding for vital low carbon capital projects across Scotland, including commitments to explore reopening the Dunfermline to Alloa rail link and improve the Milngavie rail line, increasing the cycling and walking budget to £100m and £13m for community safety and crime prevention.

Widening free bus travel to those 18 and under is estimated to cost around £60m a year from 2020.  

-    A student travelling from Castle Douglas to study at Dumfries College is set to save around £1,231 per academic year

-    A student travelling from Bathgate to Edinburgh College’s Granton campus is set to save around £1,216 per academic year

-    A student going the Moray campus of the University of the Highlands and Islands from Inverness is set to save around £945 per academic year

-    A family in Edinburgh can save £304 a year on their child going to and from school if they need to take the bus

-    It will save a family of four £22.70 on a trip from Keith to Inverurie Trampoline Park