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Free bus travel initiative for under-22s unveiled


By Alan Beresford

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ALL young people in Scotland under the age of 22 will be eligible for free bus travel from January 31 next year, it has been announced.

Councillor Sonya Warren: Free bus travel will "make a huge difference" for the under-22s. Picture: Eric Cormack
Councillor Sonya Warren: Free bus travel will "make a huge difference" for the under-22s. Picture: Eric Cormack

The Scottish Government has confirmed the timetable for the roll out of the scheme, delivered in partnership with the Improvement Service, the National Entitlement Card Programme Office and Young Scot.

Legislative changes to allow the scheme to be extended from its original commitment to provide free travel for under-19s will be introduced to the Scottish Parliament this summer.

Approximately 930,000 young people will join the third of Scotland’s population who already benefit from free bus travel through the Older and Disabled Persons Free Bus scheme.

The news was welcomed by Buckie councillor Sonya Warren, who chairs Moray Council's children and young people's services committee.

She said: "I very much welcome this step as it will make a huge difference for a great many different reasons.

"These range from making it affordable to attend more after-school activities to accessing various sport and leisure facilities. It opens up the scope for visiting friends in other towns to be able to study or relax together and makes things like a trip to the cinema more affordable, too.

"Some facilities and attractions are only available in our larger towns and cities so this really helps to make accessing easier for all families. It's a great way of helping our young people rediscover many of the activities that they have missed for so long during the pandemic.

"Health and wellbeing is of paramount importance, they need to be fed, fit and healthy to be in a good place to learn."

Moray MSP Richard Lochhead meets Malcolm Wright, Head of NHS Grampian, at Dr Grays Hospital in Elgin...Picture: Daniel Forsyth. Image No.035269.
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead meets Malcolm Wright, Head of NHS Grampian, at Dr Grays Hospital in Elgin...Picture: Daniel Forsyth. Image No.035269.

Moray SNP MSP richard Lochhead commented: “The pandemic has been particularly tough for young people, disrupting education, training and employment, as well as putting a stop to many key rites of passage that make being young special.

“There’s no doubt that young people in Moray and across Scotland have made big sacrifices to keep their communities safe at a time when there’s been so much at stake for their own futures.

“That’s why the SNP government has committed to a raft of measures, including free bus travel for under-22s, to support young people as we recover from the pandemic.

“There’s no doubt that the young person’s free travel scheme, set to open in January, will be a real boost to many in Moray by opening doors to training and work opportunities. Free travel will also be a boost to their wellbeing, making it easier for young people to spend time socially with friends – something that they’ve really missed out on over the last year.”



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