Free bus travel must be extended to people seeking asylum

Free bus travel for young people has been a big success. We must extend it to all people seeking asylum.

Ensuring people seeking asylum have access to free bus travel would be an important step in easing some of the pain caused by the UK Government’s anti-migrant policies, say the Scottish Greens.

Everyone aged under 22 is entitled to greener free bus travel in Scotland thanks to the cooperation agreement between the Scottish Greens and the Scottish Government.

The Scottish Greens have campaigned for this to be extended to all people seeking asylum and the Scottish Government has already funded a pilot in Glasgow, with 100% of participants saying it had a positive impact on them.

Speaking in a debate about extending the benefit, Scottish Greens transport spokesperson, Mark Ruskell, said:

“Asylum is, of course, reserved to the UK Government. Whilst we may want to dismantle this racist, hostile environment in its entirety, we cannot legislate to do that in this place, yet.  

“We do, however, have the powers – and responsibility - to mitigate some of the worst harms caused by UK Government policy.  

“The Scottish Government has shown leadership in protecting people seeking asylum through the limited powers available. Extending free bus travel must be part of the safety net.”

Mr Ruskell finished by saying:

“We do not need any more evidence to show us how much this intervention is needed, or the impact it will have. In the words of a pilot participant in Glasgow, ‘this ticket is a life saver.’

“So yes, the route to implementation may be challenging, but we have to get this over the line. That is our responsibility, as a country proud to protect all those who seek safety.”