Free bus pass scheme opens for Britons – but only in certain parts of the UK

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Young people living in Scotland can now apply for free bus travel thanks to a new Scottish Government scheme. This new concession is available to those who receive a new National Entitlement Card (NEC) or Young Scot NEC. Using their new youth card, under 22s in Scotland can now travel for free on the bus across Scotland.

According to the Scottish Government, tens of thousands of people have already applied for the Government-backed discount.

As a result of this concession, over 2.3 million people are now eligible for free bus travel in Scotland.

This includes people who are under 22 years of age, everyone over 60, disabled people and unpaid carers.

The Young Persons’ Free Travel Scheme is managed in partnership with the Improvement Service, the National Entitlement Card Programme Office and Young Scot.

Applications are currently open for all children and young people to get their new or replacement NEC or Young Scot NEC.

It should be noted that to qualify for this free bus pass, claimants must be in receipt of a new NEC or Young Scot NEC; older cards are not part of this concession.

Recently, the devolved Government in Scotland has emphasised that the free bus travel concession should only be used for essential journeys.

Said essential journeys include attending school, university, work, or attending important appointments.

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This has been suggested due to the pandemic with the Government hoping to discourage frivolous travel in a bid to reduce Covid cases.

However, critics have suggested that the Scottish Government is attempting to cut costs by preventing young people from accessing the benefits they are entitled to.

Upon the scheme’s full launch last month, the Government outlined why the free bus pass scheme is crucial for many young people.

Jenny Gilruth, the Minister for Transport, explained: “I am delighted that from today, thanks to the Scottish Government, every young person under 22 in Scotland with an entitlement card can now travel for free by bus across Scotland.

“Extending free bus travel will make public transport more affordable, and help give many young people wider access to more education, leisure, and work opportunities.

“It will also support the choice to travel sustainably early in their lives.

“Increasing bus use will help us achieve our world-leading goal of reducing the number of kilometres travelled by car by 20 percent by 2030 and reaching net zero emissions by 2045.

“It will also support local bus services to recover, as we all emerge from the most recent COVID-19 restrictions.

“Please remember that to keep people safe, face coverings are still required on public transport for those aged 12 or older, unless otherwise exempt.”

Patrick Harvie MSP, the Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights, added: “This is an exciting moment for sustainable travel in Scotland.

“Today’s start line for free bus travel to under 22s shows how we can tackle inequality, respond to the climate emergency and improve the lives of young people through decisive government action.

“As we work to secure a green recovery from the pandemic, free bus travel will create new opportunities, protect our climate while at the same time reducing financial barriers for young people right across the country.”

Anyone interested in applying for this concession can do so online via getyournec.scot or on parentsportal.scot if their child’s school uses it.

Claimants are able to send their application using a smartphone/tablet or a computer depending on your preference.

If someone does not have scanned copies of their documents, they will be able to take pictures of their proofs during the application process using a smartphone/tablet.

It is also possible for those looking for a free bus pass to apply directly through their local council.

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