Last reviewed 2 June 2021
Transport Scotland has launched a public consultation into the further implications of the introduction of free bus travel throughout Scotland for those under 22 years old.
With full details available at consult.gov.scot/transport-scotland/islands-free-bus-travel-under-22, the consultation is open for comments until 21 June 2021.
In March 2021, the Scottish Parliament passed legislation giving the Scottish Ministers the powers to establish a national concessionary travel scheme for free bus travel for residents of Scotland aged under 19 (the Young Persons Scheme).
On 8 March, the Scottish Government announced that it would extend free bus travel under the new Young Persons Scheme to all young people under the age of 22.
However, questions have been raised with regard to young people living in island communities who could be disadvantaged because they have to use ferries and not just road transport to access opportunities.
Some respondents to previous consultations considered that free ferry travel was essential to ensure parity between island dwelling young people and their mainland peers.
Others said that inter-Island ferry travel should be treated in the same way as bus travel is on the mainland. In addition, many respondents from rural mainland and island communities pointed out that free bus travel was of benefit only where there was sufficient provision of bus services.
The two main questions raised by the latest consultation are:
Do you think that the provision of free bus travel to all young people aged under 22 will have an effect on island communities which is significantly different from the effect on other communities in Scotland?
If so, are there measures that the Scottish Government might consider to mitigate any adverse effects on island communities in relation to the provision of free bus travel to under 22s specifically?