100 million free bus journeys made by under 22s

100 million journeys 1

More than 100 million free bus journeys have been made since the Scottish Government introduced free bus travel for under 22s.

The milestone moment comes on the same day as the year one evaluation of the Young Persons’ Free Bus Travel Scheme is published, which finds it has allowed over a third (34%) of cardholders to access new opportunities.

The scheme aims to encourage more sustainable travel and tackle issues related to transport poverty by:

  • embedding positive sustainable travel behaviours
  • opening up social, education, employment and leisure opportunities
  • reducing household outgoings to aid children, particularly those living in poverty

The evaluation shows progress against each of those objectives, with increasing numbers of young people travelling by bus and families reporting cost savings and reduced worry and anxiety relating to travel.

Minister for Transport Fiona Hyslop and Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights Patrick Harvie marked the milestone at Wester Hailes High School in Edinburgh, where they heard how young people there have benefited from the scheme.

Ms Hyslop said:

“I’m really pleased to see that over 100 million journeys have now been made by under 22s across Scotland – and that the scheme is making a positive difference to young peoples’ lives.

“This policy is truly transformative. It’s reducing travel costs for young people and their families; encouraging a shift towards public transport from private car use and improving access to social, leisure, education and employment opportunities.

“The findings of the one year evaluation are also key to ensuring the scheme continues to have a positive impact going forward. We will work with operators and other key partners to ensure that service provision matches demand from young people, and that free bus travel continues to have a truly transformative impact across Scotland.”

Mr Harvie said:

“100 million free journeys made by under 22s is a huge landmark and part of an even bigger effort to promote public transport and walking, wheeling and cycling as the easiest ways get around.

“I’m grateful to all of our partners and local authorities for helping to ensure that as many young people as possible to take advantage of this policy as we navigate our way through both a cost of living crisis and the global climate emergency.

“We already know that families can save £3,000 for each child who makes full use of free bus travel, and to see the other positive impacts the scheme has had in its first year is truly encouraging.”

Read the Year One Evaluation reports:



Published 14 Dec 2023 Tags