11 January

Free bus travel for young people in Scotland

I wish to update you on a new scheme which is being launched this year. From 31st January, all children and young people aged between 5 and 21 years will be eligible for free bus travel within Scotland.

Children and young people will be able to access free bus travel on registered bus services across Scotland including a very limited number of local cross-border services from the south of Scotland into northern England.


How will young people obtain free bus travel?

Children and young people aged between 5 and 21 years old will need to apply for a National Entitlement Card (Young Scot Card).  Their existing card will not work, they will need to apply for a new one.

The card has an electronic chip inside it. When entering a bus, the driver will ask them to tap the card against a card reader. The card reader will tell the bus driver if the child has free bus travel enabled on their card.

Children under 16 years old will need their parent/carer to apply on their behalf and provide approval for free bus travel to be enabled on their child's card.

Young people aged 16 years and over will be able to apply for free bus travel themselves.

Children under 5 years old can already travel on buses for free. They will not need a to apply for a card.

When can parents/carers or young people apply for free bus travel?

Applications will open on 10 January 2022.

All children and young people between the age of 5 to 15 will be required to get parental or carers consent to have free bus travel added to their card.  Please note this is not school transport.  The free bus travel is for the public bus network only.

Young people 16 years or older can apply for a new Young Scot card themselves.

Applications can be made in various ways:

  • The Parents Portal can be used to apply for a card for children between 5 and 15 inclusive;
  • Cards can also be applied for online at https://getyournec.scot/nec/
  • Just like the current process, application forms for Young Scot cards with travel can be made through the school.  The new application form is attached.