Under 22s Travel Scheme
Free bus travel for children and young people will help to embed long-term and sustainable travel behaviours, reduce poverty, provide access to education and leisure activities, and open doors to new experiences.
- Accessing your free travel
Children and young people need a new or replacement National Entitlement Card (NEC) or Young Scot National Entitlement Card (Young Scot NEC) before they can travel by bus for free.
Excluding those under the age of five, anyone entitled will not be able to travel for free on the bus without a valid NEC or a Young Scot NEC and will need to pay for the fare as normal.
Children under five years old will continue to travel for free by bus and don’t need a card.
There are two ways to apply:
• Online at getyournec.scot (or through parentportal.scot if this is used by your child’s school).
• Local council: if you cannot apply online please contact your local council who can tell you how to proceed.
getyournec.scot provides all the information needed to apply, we have also provided some more info below which you may find useful.
Many children and young people already have an NEC or Young Scot NEC. However, this cannot be used to travel by bus for free. For free bus travel those eligible must replace their current card with a new one, the application must have been made in 2022.
- What you need to get a National Entitlement Card (NEC) or Young Scot NEC
Proof of identity (your name and age), proof of residence (where you usually live) and a photograph if you are aged 11 years old or older. Documents include birth certificate or passport, digital image of child if over 11. If you are a parent/guardian applying on behalf of a five to 15 year old you must provide the same documentation as the child (we would recommend obtaining a Yoti account. This account can then be used to verify your identity when applying for an NEC or Young Scot NEC on GETYOURNEC.SCOT.
For replacements and to apply for a new National Entitlement Card (NEC) or a Young Scot NEC visit getyournec.scot.
- Why a new National Entitlement Card (NEC) or Young Scot NEC is required
Digital access to the free bus travel scheme will be added to your new card. All bus journeys made under the scheme must be recorded so the Scottish Government can reimburse operators for the fare. Tapping the NEC or Young Scot NEC on the ticket machine each time you travel makes this possible.
If you don’t have a valid card, you will need to pay your fare in the normal way.
- Travel anywhere in Scotland
The Young Persons’ Free Bus Travel Scheme for Under 22s means those eligible can travel anywhere in Scotland on local and long-distance bus services, apart from a few exceptions such as premium-fare night buses, city sightseeing buses, and some airport transfer services.
If you travelling to England, you will be able to travel to Carlisle or Berwick-Upon- Tweed but cannot be used to travel within these towns.
- No travel limits across Scotland
For those eligible, there are no limits on when you can travel. Most bus services across Scotland are included, but you cannot use tour buses or any services that are charged at a premium rate.
- Can an unaccompanied child travel on the bus for free?
For 5–15-year-olds, if a parent or guardian has approved them to have access to free bus travel, and they are happy for them to travel unaccompanied, then yes.