Consultation on free bus travel for people resident in Scotland aged under 19

Closed 7 Dec 2020

Opened 26 Oct 2020

Feedback updated 21 Jan 2021

We asked

We sought views on proposals to launch a new statutory national concessionary travel scheme providing free bus travel for young people resident in Scotland up to their 19th birthday. The purpose of this consultation was to set out the proposed arrangements for the new scheme and options for how the scheme operates.

You said

We received 3075 responses to this consultation  including 2984 (97%) from individuals and 91 (3%) from organisations. 

There was overwhelming agreement that the proposal would contribute towards objectives to increase opportunities and reduce inequalities for children and young people, with 91% of all respondents agreeing that it would. Dominant views included that the scheme would improve access to employment and education, contributing to equality of opportunity and allowing young people to make training and education choices based on preference and skills rather than transport affordability.

While most respondents (72%) felt that there were no disadvantages to introducing free bus travel for under 19s, there was some disparity between different groups of respondents in this regard. Just under half of organisations (46%) perceived that there may be disadvantages, and these were typically linked to costs of administering and delivering the scheme.

The large majority of respondents (88%) supported the use of a smart card to establish eligibility for the scheme. There was strong support (61%) for parental/guardian approval of travel card applications.

View submitted responses

View analysis of the consultation responses

We did

We are working to introduce a new statutory scheme to allow 5-18 year olds resident in Scotland to access free bus travel through the National Entitlement Card. Legislation was introduced into the Scottish Parliament on 21 January which, if approved, will enable us to begin preparations for the new scheme. The scheme will start operating as soon as practicable during the 2021-22 financial year.

View information on the legislation and plans for the new scheme

Results updated 21 Jan 2021

 We are working to introduce a new statutory scheme to allow 5-18 year olds resident in Scotland to access free bus travel through the National Entitlement Card. Legislation was introduced into the Scottish Parliament on 21 January which, if approved, will enable us to begin preparations for the new scheme. An independent analysis of consultation responses was commissioned, and this report provides the findings from that analysis.

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Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.

Overview

The Scottish Government intends to launch a new statutory national concessionary travel scheme providing free bus travel for young people resident in Scotland up to their 19th birthday (referred to as ‘under 19s’ or ‘under 19’ throughout this consultation). We anticipate that legislation to underpin the scheme would be required to be laid in Parliament in early 2021 and the scheme would come into effect later in 2021.

The consultation will run for six weeks and we are inviting responses by Monday 7 December.

Why we are consulting

The purpose of this consultation is to set out the proposed arrangements for the new scheme and options for how the scheme operates. By providing us with your views, we can establish the most appropriate way to provide free travel for young people to meet their needs and requirements.

We hope that as many members of the public as possible will respond to this consultation. In particular we would like to hear the views of people who will be impacted by these proposals including children and young people, their parents and carers and people who work with children in a paid or voluntary capacity.  We appreciate that some of the consultation questions are technical but their application to free bus travel could have direct impacts on numerous individuals and organisations. As such, we would encourage everyone to respond to any or all of those areas where you feel you have a contribution to make.

This consultation is not about the design or implementation of any other concessionary travel schemes. We are running a separate engagement with young people on the future of transport more broadly, seeking their views on how we tackle transport inequalities and move us towards a more sustainable and inclusive Scottish transport network.

Read the consultation paper

What happens next

Where respondents have given permission for their response to be made public, and after we have checked that they contain no potentially defamatory material, responses will be made available to the public at http://consult.gov.scot. 

Following the closing date, all responses will be analysed and considered along with any other available evidence to help us prepare the free bus travel scheme for people resident in Scotland aged under 19. Responses will be published where we have been given permission to do so. An analysis report will also be made available.

Interests

  • Children and Families
  • Communities and Third Sector
  • Equality, Welfare and Rights
  • Transport