Free bus pass scheme for thousands of people deemed 'too complicated'


Many issues have been raised with the application process for the scheme as parents say it is “too complicated”. The scheme is aimed at encouraging public transport use to reduce young people’s footprint and comes at a time where English pensioners may lose their own free entitlement.

The free bus pass in England is available for those over the state pension age which is currently 66.

However, the state pension age is expected to rise to 68 between 2044 and 2046, seeing older Britons losing out on their bus pass entitlement. 

However, people in London, Scotland and Wales can still apply for a free bus pass at the age of 60. 

Earlier this year the Scottish Government added another free bus pass entitlement for young Scots. 

Applications for the scheme opened on January 31 for those between the ages of five and 21 living in Scotland. 

READ MORE: State pension fury as older people get £2,251 LESS income a year – ‘pure discrimination’

Children under the age of five already receive free travel.

The scheme is focused on those making essential journeys and was expected to benefit nearly a million young people when fully rolled out. 

The phased applications approach was made in order to remain safe under Covid guidelines still in place at the time of the announcement. 

However an estimated 80 percent of eligible people in certain regions are not using the scheme. 

Some Scots have reported that it is difficult to apply for the scheme, highlighting a range of issues with the process. 


“We are committed to continue working with delivery partners to develop the application process in light of feedback.”

For the scheme, young people need a National Entitlement Card of Young Scot NEC with valid free travel entitlement on their person when they take a bus in order to benefit. 

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: “Extending free bus travel to all of Scotland’s children and young people under 22 is making public transport more affordable, helping to improve access to education, leisure, and work, while supporting them to travel sustainably. Over 1.5 million journeys have already been made under the new scheme.

“We are absolutely determined to ensure that the children and young people who might benefit the most from free bus travel don’t miss out.  We know that some families might not be able to apply online or have the required identify proofs to do so.  That is why there are a number of different ways of applying, including directly with the local council who can also coordinate through schools. We know that some local authorities are already enabling schools to sign up young people to the Young Scot entitlement card and we would encourage others to do so.

“We are committed to continue working with delivery partners to develop the application process in light of feedback – and the new mobile application, ‘Transport Scot Pass Collect’, lets people aged 16-21, who already have a Young Scot National Entitlement Card (NEC) or non-Young Scot branded NEC, collect free bus travel onto their existing NEC card, without having to apply for a replacement card.”


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