Free bus travel (5yrs-21yrs)
Young people in Inverclyde can get on board buses for free thanks to a new national travel scheme.
Anyone aged 5-21 will be able to access services across Scotland at no cost from 31 January 2022 as part of a nationwide scheme but those who need to make essential journeys only are being targeted first in line with the current government coronavirus safety advice, which is to stay at home as much as possible to help limit the spread of Covid-19.
Young people will need a new or replacement National Entitlement Card (NEC) or Young Scot NEC to participate with applications now being accepted.
Inverclyde Council will coordinate registrations for pupils in its schools and parents will be issued with consent forms meaning they do not need to register.
Young people who are not of school age but are eligible for the scheme will have to sign up and are being encouraged to do so online.
In light of the current high levels of COVID-19 transmission, the Scottish Government is asking that you only apply for the scheme at this point if it is essential that you, or your child, travel while restrictions are in place. All other eligible applicants will be proactively encouraged to apply at a later date.
Even if you already have a National Entitlement Card or Young Scot National Entitlement Card, you must apply for a new or replacement card to travel by bus for free.
Parents or guardians must provide approval for children aged between 5-15 to access the scheme by applying on their behalf. Young people aged 16-21 should apply themselves.
The Transport Scotland website provides all the information needed to apply.
There are two ways to apply:
- Online at www.getyournec.scot or through www.parentsportal.scot if this is used by your child’s school.
- Local council: if you cannot, or do not want to apply online please email U22freetravel@inverclyde.gov.uk or contact 01475 715450 and we will tell you how to proceed.
Please note: The scheme does not replace dedicated school transport which is already in place for pupils.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why haven’t you advertised the scheme?
We want all 5-21 year olds living in Scotland to benefit from free bus travel. However given the situation with the pandemic, we do not want to heavily market the scheme at a time when people are being actively discouraged from travelling unless they really need to. That said, it is important that children and young people who rely on the bus for essential travel such as to work, where they can’t work from home, or for the purposes of education, care and health and so on are able to apply to access free bus travel from 31 January. That’s why we have made factual information available on how to apply. The national marketing campaign will follow in due course.
Why are you launching the scheme at a time when there are additional Covid-19 restrictions?
We want all 5-21 year olds living in Scotland to benefit from free bus travel. In particular at this time it is important that those who rely on the bus for essential travel such as to work, where they can’t work from home, or for the purposes of education, care and health and so on are able to apply to access free bus travel from 31 January. Scottish Government advice regarding the pandemic should be followed at all times.
Will Council offices be able to process in person applications given the situation with the pandemic?
Applications can be made online at www.getyournec.scot or at www.parentsportal.scot, if this is used by your child’s school but for those who are unable to apply online, or choose not to, individuals also have the option of applying in person. To apply in person email the Council at U22freetravel@inverclyde.gov.uk or contact 01475 715450 for more information.
If applications are open, why are people being encouraged not to apply for the scheme?
It is important that we all do our bit to stay safe and protect our NHS. Therefore we are encouraging people not to travel unless it is essential. However, we recognise that many children and young people under the age of 22 still have to make essential journeys by bus and it is important that they can still apply to access free bus from 31 January, recognising that not travelling is not an option for them.