Our latest Community Column is written by Ross Greer MSP, Scottish Green MSP for the West Scotland region.

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AS of Monday, January 31, free bus travel became available to everyone under the age of 22 in Helensburgh and Lomond – and throughout Scotland.

This ground-breaking initiative started life as an idea the Scottish Young Greens and I brought to our party conference – and just a few years later it is now available to almost a million young Scots.

Hundreds of young people in Helensburgh, and thousands across Argyll and Bute and all over the country are now eligible for a bus pass, making it easier for them to get to school, college, university, work or wherever else they want to go.

As we emerge from the recent Omicron surge, this will open up a world of opportunity to many young people.

READ MORE: All the details of free bus travel scheme for Scotland's under-22s

For the next few weeks, though, I would still encourage everyone to avoid making unnecessary journeys, to help ensure that we get past the tail end of this Omicron wave.

That shouldn’t stop young people and their parents or carers from applying for the pass, and making use of it for those essential journeys, in the meantime though.

To qualify, anyone who is aged from 5-21 in Scotland will need to apply for a new National Entitlement (Young Scot) Card to replace your existing one (if you have it).

You can do that, if you haven’t done so already, at getyournec.scot. Under 16s will need an adult to apply for them.


Free bus travel in Scotland was extended to under-22s on January 31

Free bus travel in Helensburgh - and across Scotland - was extended to under-22s on January 31


You’ll need to provide a scan of ID and proof of your address, as well as a photograph that can be used for the card.

If you can’t apply online, or if you don’t have the required proof, Argyll and Bute Council (NECTEAM@argyll-bute.gov.uk) will sort you out.

I would encourage any young person who relies on buses to apply for the new card as soon as possible, particularly key workers, carers and those who rely on the bus to access education.

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As we emerge from the pandemic, bus services will be a crucial part of Scotland’s green recovery plan. This travel card will open up opportunities for young people, help family budgets and play a key role in tackling the climate emergency.

Having said that, I know that extending free bus travel to everyone under the age of 22 must only be a start. The Scottish Greens would like to see our country follow in the footsteps of Luxembourg – whose transport minister is also a Green politician! – by introducing fare-free public transport for all.

This is just one of the many transformative steps that are needed to tackle the climate emergency, reduce inequalities, and support families.

READ MORE: Click here for all the latest news headlines from across Helensburgh and Lomond