Free bus travel for under 22s 

South mainland bus A970 Gulberwick

Young people and children aged 5 to 21 years can now access free bus travel, by applying for a National Entitlement Card (NEC). 

The Young Persons’ (Under 22s) Free Bus Travel Scheme was announced in November 2021, offering young people across Scotland free bus travel.   From today, young people aged 5 to 21 can apply for a card to allow them to travel by bus under the scheme from 31 January 2022.

Currently, the Scottish Government is encouraging people to stay at home as much as possible and only make essential journeys by bus, such as for work, education or health care, until the situation with the pandemic improves. 

Anyone aged 5-21 and living in Scotland is eligible for a card.  Previously issued cards, such as the ‘Young Scot’ NEC will not allow access to the scheme and anyone holding an existing card will need to apply for a replacement card, with a new embedded chip.  Children aged five to ten years old, will need to apply for a new ‘Junior’ NEC to access free bus travel. 

Young people and children under 16 years old will need their parent or guardian to apply on their behalf, while anyone aged 16 or over can make an application themselves.  Children under 5 years old already travel for free on buses and don’t need a card. 

Ryan Thomson, Chair of the Council’s Environment and Transport Committee, and ZetTrans, the Regional Transport Partnership for Shetland, said: "Free bus travel will enable our younger population to have better access to education, employment and social settings, while taking the pressure off their finances.  More use of public transport is also an important part of helping tackle the climate emergency and hitting Shetland’s environmental targets.   I'd strongly encourage young people to apply for a National Entitlement Card so they can access free bus travel from 31st January.”

NEC applications can be made locally through the Shetland Islands Council’s Youth Services team. Full details and links to online application forms can be on the Youth Services webpage 

Notes for Editors

•    More details on the Young Persons’ (Under 22s) Free Bus Travel scheme can be found on the Transport Scotland website 
•    The Scottish Government announced free bus travel for under 22s on 05 November 2021

Published: 10th January 2022