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Young Persons' Free Bus Travel

Young Persons' Free Bus Travel Scheme

All young people and children aged 5-21 years can apply for a card to access the Young Persons’ (Under 22s) Free Bus Travel Scheme, which began on 31 January 2022.
You will need a National Entitlement Card (NEC) or Young Scot NEC with the valid free travel entitlement with you whenever you want to take the bus – otherwise you’ll have to pay for your trip.

Eligibility

If you are 5-21 years old and live in Scotland you are eligible for free bus travel.

All children and young people aged 5-21 will need to apply for a new or replacement National Entitlement Card (NEC) or Young Scot National Entitlement Card (Young Scot NEC) to access free bus travel. Previously issued cards will not allow you access to the scheme. Children aged under 5 years do not need a card as they already travel for free on commercial bus services across Scotland.

However, from February 28, if you’re aged between 16 and 21 and you already have an active NEC or Young Scot NEC, you can download free bus travel onto your existing card using the Transport Scot Pass Collect app. This means you may not need to apply for a new card to access your free bus travel.

Active cards are those received since 2016 – they’ll have a long number next to the ITSO logo and, if there’s a date of birth shown, it will be highlighted with a pink strip.

Find out more about how to download and use the app.

The photograph on the card must look like you (if your NEC or Young Scot NEC includes a photo) to travel by bus for free.

Read the scheme’s full terms and conditions.

How to Apply

Free Bus Travel under 22, Scheme Scotland

You can either apply online at getyournec.scot or (if your child’s school uses it) on parentsportal.scot. If you’re applying online, you may find it useful, before starting the application process, to download or look out the documents as outlined on getyournec.scot that you will need. You can apply using a smartphone/tablet or a computer depending on your preference, and if you don't have scanned copies of your documents, you can take photos of your proofs during the application process using a smartphone/tablet. Alternatively you can apply directly with your local council. 

  • If you are aged 16-21 you must apply for a new NEC yourself
  • A parent or guardian must apply on behalf of 5–15 year olds and provide approval for them to travel for free by bus
  • Children under 5 years old do not need a card as they already travel for free on commercial bus services

To aid applications made through getyournec.scot, videos have been made which walk you through the online application process step-by-step:

What you will need to apply online

Before you apply online this is what you’ll need. You won’t be able to save and resume your application, so please get this information ready before you start.

Applying for a National Entitlement Card for yourself aged 16+? 

To apply you will need:

  • a device with a camera or webcam (laptop/tablet/phone).
  • to sign in using your mygovscot myaccount (click register if you don’t have one).
  • a recent digital photo showing your head and shoulders.
  • proof of identity (passport, driving licence or use your Yoti account).
  • proof of address (such as Council Tax bill or bank statement).
Parent applying on behalf of your child aged under 16?

To apply you will need:

  • a device with a camera or webcam (laptop/tablet/phone).
  • to sign in using your mygovscot myaccount (click register if you don’t have one).
  • parent proof of identity (passport, driving licence or use your Yoti account).
  • parent proof of address (such as Council Tax bill or bank statement).
  • proof of your child's identity (eg. birth certificate (if under 11 only), passport or Young Scot card).
  • proof of your child's address (only if they live at a different address from you).
  • child's birth or adoption certificate (listing both your name and your child). Note: abbreviated birth certificates will NOT be accepted.
  • a recent digital image of the child (if aged 11+) showing head and shoulders.

View a full list of accepted proof of address and photograph guidelines

Once you have applied on getyournec.scot, you can log back in to check the status of your application – i.e. submitted, approved, rejected.

If you cannot apply online, there are many other ways to apply, please contact your local council.

In some local council areas, schools are coordinating applications on behalf of their pupils. Schools will contact parents or guardians and pupils directly if this arrangement is in place.

You should allow up to ten working days from the date your application was approved for your card to arrive. Please be patient – the current situation with the pandemic means that it might take longer to process applications.

Due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on staffing levels, some local councils may not be able to offer in-person applications at all times so please do check their website or call before setting off.

Parentsportal.scot

If you live in any of the local council areas which uses parentsportal.scot you might find it convenient to apply for a new card through that route.

The local council areas are:

  • Aberdeenshire
  • East Renfrewshire
  • Fife
  • Moray
  • North Lanarkshire
  • Perth and Kinross
  • Renfrewshire
  • West Lothian.

Which NEC?

The type of National Entitlement Card you apply for and whether you need approval from a parent or guardian depends on your age.

Age Which NEC? Approval required?
0-4 year olds No card needed to travel for free by bus No
5-10 year olds NEC (without photo) Parent/guardian to apply
11-15 year olds

NEC (with photo), or

Young Scot NEC

Parent/guardian to apply
16-21 year olds

NEC (with photo), or

Young Scot NEC

Apply by themselves

For those aged 11+ it’s your choice whether you apply for the Young Scot NEC or a standard NEC. Remember that Young Scot offers discounts, rewards, membership and is PASS accredited, meaning you can use a Young Scot NEC as proof of age. Find out more at Young Scot’s website.

Your responsibilities

Remember:

  • The NEC is only valid for use by the person it’s issued to – no one else can use it
  • Take good care of your card. You must be physically carrying your card to access the scheme – if you forget it or it gets damaged and doesn’t work, you’ll need to pay the fare
  • If your card has a photo, make sure it is up to date and it looks like you
  • Always keep in touch with you family and friends to let them know where you are – it’s important to stay safe

Read the scheme terms and conditions.

Find out more about how to download and use the app.

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