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Applications for bus travel pass for Highlanders under the age of 22 will open in 'early January 2022'


By Louise Glen

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Highland Council is urging youngsters and families to be ready for the young persons’ free bus travel scheme for under 22s next year.

The scheme, funded by the Scottish Government, will see free travel for five to 21 years old with a valid entitlement card.

From 31 January, nearly one million 5–21-year-olds living in Scotland will be eligible to benefit from for free bus travel.

Ministers have said the scheme will embed sustainable travel behaviours from a young age, open doors to new opportunities, and help to meet the Scottish Government’s target of net zero emissions by 2045.

Children and young people who are 5–21 years old will need a new or replacement National Entitlement Card (NEC) or Young Scot National Entitlement Card (Young Scot NEC) to travel for free by bus.

Parents or guardians of 5–15-year-olds must apply on their behalf.

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

Councillor Trish Robertson, chairwoman of the council's economy and infrastructure committee, said: “To take advantage of this free travel 5 - 21-year-olds will need a valid entitlement card.

"The key is that the card must be valid therefore you may need a new or replacement card. Check the information out now to ensure that you will be ready to apply when applications open in early January 2022.”

Chairman of education committee, Councillor John Finlayson added: “Bus travel is for many young people living in Highland is their key mode of transport and anything that can support them to have access to travel and meet the costs has to be welcomed.

"To this end I would encourage all young people to ensure that they have the proper card that will allow them to make use of their free bus entitlement.”

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


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