In line with the SNP manifesto, all under 22s resident in Scotland will have access to free bus travel from 31 January 2022.
The SNP Government has also committed to removing the majority of fossil fuelled buses from public transport by 2023.
A Bus Decarbonisation Taskforce has been convened which brings bus operators, the supply chain, energy companies and financiers together to co-design a pathway to a fully zero-emission bus fleet.
Transport Scotland has made £50 million available to the Scottish Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund, to further support the Scottish bus fleet to transition to zero emission.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“We are committed to giving our young people the very best chances to succeed in life. The extension of free bus travel to all under 22s will improve access to education, leisure, and work, while supporting the adoption of sustainable travel behaviours early in their lives.
“COP26 must be a turning point for the world, and action must be taken if we are to ‘keep 1.5 alive’, and Governments across the world must act to support this. Adopting more sustainable travel is vital if we are to reach our world-leading goal of reducing the number of kilometres travelled by car by 20% by 2030 and reaching net zero emissions by 2045.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“The positive impact of the swift implementation of this SNP manifesto commitment will be twofold.
“Not only will it help our young people across North Ayrshire and Scotland save money and make it easier for them to pursue and stay in employment that requires travel; it’s also better for the environment if more people travel by bus than car.”
Free travel for residents of Scotland aged 5-21 will be accessed by the National Entitlement Card (NEC) or Young Scot NEC from 31 January 2022.
Information on the application process for existing cardholders and new users will be available on the Transport Scotland website in due course. Children aged 0-4 already travel for free on commercial bus services.
The scheme will be delivered by the SNP Government in partnership with the Improvement Service, National Entitlement Card Programme Office, Young Scot, local authorities and bus operators to help Scotland reach its net zero targets by 2045.