SNP MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, Drew Hendry, has welcomed the opening of the application process for free bus travel for young people, under the age of 22 years old, in the Highlands.
From today, all young people and children aged 5-21 years old in the Highlands can apply for their new or replacement National Entitlement Card (NEC) or Young Scot NEC to access the scheme from 31 January 2022.
The scheme, extending free bus travel to everyone aged 22, builds on the Scottish Government’s commitment to providing free bus travel to all under-19’s in Scotland which started in August 2021.
Drew Hendry MP has welcomed the initiative which is set to benefit around 930,000 young people across Scotland and pointed to research from Transport Scotland indicating that 70% of young people would use public transport more frequently if it was free.
The scheme will be delivered in partnership with Transport Scotland, the Improvement Service, the National Entitlement Card Programme Office (NECPO), Young Scot, local authorities and bus operators.
Commenting the MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, Drew Hendry, said:
“I am delighted that applications are now open for young people in the Highlands, under the age of 22, to apply for free bus travel across Scotland.
“This is a welcome and hugely significant commitment from the Scottish Government that will benefit hundreds of thousands of young people across the country.
“Young people in Scotland are rightly challenging their politicians to take bold and innovative actions to create a sustainable future for them and free bus travel is an example of what can be done to rise to this challenge.
“Making bus travel free for under 22’s is not only important for helping tackle the climate emergency but it will take pressure off young people’s finances and improve their access to education, leisure, and work.
“This is particularly important as households across the Highlands face the stark reality of the cost of living crisis presided over by this Tory UK Government.
“As we continue to come through the pandemic, it’s important that we all stay at home where possible.
“But, of course, many need to travel to a place of work or education for example, so I want to specifically encourage children and young people with essential journeys to make to apply now.
“The SNP Scottish Government is continuing its track record in making an investment in our young people’s future, supporting them to have the best possible start in life and creating the fairer, greener Scotland that we all want to build.”