Free bus travel extended – not only pensioners who will get the perk

Sadiq Khan quizzed by pensioner on future of free bus passes

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The introduction of free fares for all under 22s in Scotland was announced earlier today in a move that means approximately 930,000 more people will be allowed to travel for free on buses north of the border. It could cause a huge amount of controversy as it comes at a time when free bus passes for some pensioners are in jeopardy.

Because it is increasingly difficult to comfortably live on the state pension alone, pensioners are reluctant to let go of additional benefits like their free bus pass and free prescriptions.

What also seems unfair is that In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, people can apply for a free bus pass when they are 60.

News that under 22s can now travel for free on buses as well will only add fuel to the fire.

Speaking at COP26, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “We are committed to giving our young people the very best chances to succeed in life.

“The extension of free bus travel to all under 22s will improve access to education, leisure, and work, while supporting the adoption of sustainable travel behaviours early in their lives.”

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Ms Sturgeon continued: “COP26 must be a turning point for the world, and action must be taken if we are to ‘keep 1.5 alive’, and Governments across the world must act to support this.

“Adopting more sustainable travel behaviour is vital if we are to reach our world-leading goal of reducing the number of kilometres travelled by car by 20 percent by 2030 and reaching net zero emissions by 2045.”

It’s a huge step for Scotland – previously all under 19s received free bus travel.

Meanwhile, a third of the population already have free bus travel through the Older and Disabled Persons Free Bus scheme.

Almost three quarters of young people plan to take advantage of the scheme, research shows.

Transport Scotland said it had conducted research to show that 70 percent of young people indicated they would use public transport more frequently if it was free.

Furthermore, 61 percent of young people believe that providing free public transport is essential if we are to combat climate change.

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Meanwhile, Age UK has advised that while pensioners in England may have to wait longer, there are ways they can travel for cheaper.

National Express offers a Senior Coachcard for people who are 60 and above which costs £12.50 and reduces the price of travel by a third.

On its website it states that: “Some local authorities offer concessions that apply to local public transport.

“Contact your local council for more information about what they offer.”

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