The numbers benefiting from the Young Scot (aged 16-18) Entitlement Card have increased fivefold from 27,963 to 150,235 in the last decade, according to the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe).
There has also been a 35% increase in the number of older and disabled people benefiting from the National Entitlement Card (NEC) and the National Concessionary Travel Scheme with it, with numbers rising from 967,304 to 1,313,251.
With support from the SNP Government, this popular scheme provides free travel throughout Scotland and in doing so access to services, facilities and social networks locally and further afield. It promotes a more active lifestyle thus improving health and helping people to be independent, socially active and generally helps them play a greater part in their community.
A consultation on the best way forward for the scheme was launched last week, which will engage with stakeholders and look at ways of extending the scheme to those on the Modern Apprentices and Job Grants schemes.
Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“It’s important that we support young people in Scotland who are still at school or still gaining experience and not yet earning a proper wage and it’s great to see such a huge increase in the number of young people benefiting from the Young Scot card.
“The SNP Government is committed to supporting bus services and concessionary travel nationally, and that’s why it is consulting on how best to utilise the concessionary travel scheme to benefit those who have the greatest reliance on free bus travel, and I would urge everyone to get involved in the consultation.
“As stated in our 2016 manifesto, the SNP Government wants to extend concessionary travel to young modern apprentices and, later on, to young recipients of job grants and will listen carefully to the views across Scotland to find out how people see the future of the scheme.
“Everyone that has a bus pass already however can be reassured that there is absolutely no prospect of losing their entitlement as part of this consultation. For those with a disability, the scheme will not change for them or their companion.”
The consultation can be accessed at: https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/partnerships-and-concessionary-travel/national-concessionary-travel-scheme/