Applications for bus travel passes for Highlanders under 22 will open ‘early January 2022’


Highland Council is urging young people and families to be ready for the free bus scheme for young people under 22 next year.

The scheme, funded by the Scottish Government, will see free travel for those aged 5 to 21 with a valid entitlement card.

From 31 January, almost one million young people aged 5 to 21 living in Scotland will be able to take advantage of free bus travel.

Ministers said the program will embed sustainable travel behaviors from an early age, open doors to new opportunities and help achieve the Scottish Government’s goal of net zero emissions by 2045.

Children and young people aged 5-21 will need a New or New National Entitlement Card (NEC) or National Young Scots Entitlement Card (Young Scot NEC) to travel for free on the bus.

Parents or guardians of children 5-15 years old must apply on their behalf.

Children under 5 already travel free on commercial bus services and do not need a card.

Councilor Trish Robertson, chair of the council’s economy and infrastructure committee, said: ‘To take advantage of this free trip, those aged 5 to 21 will need a valid entitlement card.

“The key is that the card must be valid, so you may need a new or replacement card. Check the information now to make sure you’ll be ready to apply when applications open early. January 2022.”

Chair of the Education Committee, Councilor John Finlayson, added: ‘For many young people living in Highland, bus travel is their primary mode of transport and anything that can help them gain access to travel and bearing the costs is to be welcomed.

“To this end, I encourage all young people to ensure they have the correct card which will allow them to use their free bus entitlement.”

A council spokeswoman said full details on how to apply will be announced in January 2022.

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