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Chamber and committees

Question reference: S6W-09327

  • Asked by: Elena Whitham, MSP for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley, Scottish National Party
  • Date lodged: 24 June 2022
  • Current status: Answered by Jenny Gilruth on 18 July 2022


To ask the Scottish Government whether it can provide an update on the uptake to date of the Young Persons’ (Under 22s) Free Bus Travel, and what assessment it has made of the impact of the scheme on children in households on the lowest incomes and their ability to access opportunities. 


As of close of business on 27 June 2022 a total of 426,397 cards had been issued under the Young Persons Scheme (YPS). This includes the number of cards that have collected a travel product from the Transport Scot Pass Collect mobile application held by Transport Scotland and data supplied by the National Entitlement Card Programme Office (NECPO). NECPO support the 32 local authorities by assisting with the integration of various national and local public services on the National Entitlement Card (NEC) and are the joint controller with local authorities of this data.

One of the objectives of the YPS is to reduce household outgoings to aid children, particularly those living in poverty. Transport Scotland is undertaking an evaluation of the Scheme to assess its success. As a first step, a baseline study was undertaken prior to the scheme going live and a Baseline Data Report was published on 24 June 2022.

The report stated that as incomes decreased bus use increased for most journey purposes, with those on the lowest incomes most likely to use the bus. In addition, as income reduced the proportions of income spent on a child’s travel tended to increase.

The cost of travel and transport was noted as being a key reason why some children and young people were missing out on opportunities, including social and leisure activities as well as educational, work opportunities and support/respite services. Between 51% (for health care) and 80% (for daytime social activities) of respondents felt that the YPS would allow them to travel more often to their current destinations, and/or to access new destinations.

The evaluation is ongoing and will compare conditions at intervals up to five years after project implementation to assess the outcomes and impact of the scheme on children, young people and their families.