Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Under 22s free bus travel: Here’s how to apply and what you need to know

Everyone in Scotland aged 5-21 can apply for a card to access free bus travel but many parents and young people have reported that the application process is complex.
Everyone in Scotland aged 5-21 can apply for a card to access free bus travel but many parents and young people have reported that the application process is complex.

If you are aged between 5 and 21 and you live in Scotland you are eligible for free bus travel.

Those under 5 are not changed so do not need a pass.

But some parents and young people are reporting problems with the application process.

Buses on Aberdeen’s Broad Street. Photo: Chris Sumner/DCT Media

Figures up to March 18, 2022 show fewer than a third who are eligible across the north and north east have been issued with a pass.

Here’s everything you need to know about the free bus travel scheme, and how to apply.

Why is this happening?

The Climate Change Act 2019 commits Scotland to net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045.

The free bus travel scheme launched in January 2022 to lower young people’s carbon footprint by encouraging the use of public transport.

The scheme was agreed under an SNP/Green budget deal at Holyrood.

The scheme will give you free travel on any bus in any part of Scotland on registered bus services. You can travel on buses outside the area you live in using your card.

Who can apply for the pass, and what do the passes look like?

If you are a parent of a child aged 5-15, you need to apply for the pass for your child.

If you are aged 16-22, you need to apply by yourself.

You need to apply for a National Entitlement Card (NEC) to take advantage of the scheme.

Or, you can use a Young Scot NEC card if you are aged 11 or over.

A Young Scot National Entitlement Card being used for free under 22s bus travel.

Where do I apply?

You can apply online through the central government service at GetYourNEC.Scot or through your local council.

Before you start the application process, try to have these to hand…

You may need some or all of the following:

  • Device with a camera or webcam (laptop/tablet/phone)
  • Passport for parent and child
  • Birth Certificate for parent and child
  • Recent digital image of the child (if aged 11+)

Already have an active NEC or Young Scot NEC card?

If you already have an active NEC or Young Scot NEC, you can download free bus travel onto your existing card using the Transport Scot Pass Collect app.

Click here for instructions on how to get the app. You must be 16 or over.

All councils have offline application routes available but they differ from area to area.

Here are the links to apply with your local council:

All councils have application routes available but they differ from area to area.

Will it cost me anything to apply?

Just your time.  You need to get all your ID documents to hand and make sure the photograph required for the card is suitable.

How long will it take to process?

Cards generally arrive in the post within 10 working days.

However, if you apply with a paper-based, offline application, it could take longer.

Aberdeenshire Council for example says it “may take several weeks” before a card gets in your hands if you apply using a paper-based process.

Here is a video for parents who want to apply for free bus travel on behalf of their child aged 5-15.

You may also be interested in:

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]