Isles MP Angus MacNeil is encouraging all children and young people in Na h-Eileanan an Iar to apply for a new or replacement National Entitlement Card (NEC) which will now provide free bus travel to everyone up to the age of 22.

From this week, all young people and children aged 5-21 years old can apply for their new or replacement National Entitlement Card (NEC) or Young Scot NEC to access the scheme from 31 January 2022. The scheme, extending free bus travel to everyone up to 22, builds on the Scottish Government’s commitment to providing free bus travel to all under-19’s in Scotland which started in August 2021.

Mr MacNeil has welcomed the initiative which will cover travel across the Western Isles and also on the mainland which will be particularly helpful to island students travelling regularly between their island homes and mainland locations for university and college.

The scheme is set to benefit around 930,000 young people across Scotland with research from Transport Scotland indicating that 70% of young people would use public transport more frequently if it was free.

Commenting Mr MacNeil said:

I am delighted that applications are now open for young people in Na h-Eileanan an Iar under the age of 22, to apply for free bus travel across the country. This is a hugely significant commitment from the Scottish Government that will benefit hundreds of thousands of young people.

“Making bus travel free for under 22’s is not only important for helping tackle the climate emergency but it will also take pressure off young people’s finances and improve their access to education, leisure, and work.

“Whilst we continue to live through the pandemic, we all recognise that essential travel must be prioritised so I want to specifically encourage children and young people with essential journeys to make to apply now.

“The SNP Scottish Government is once again making an investment in our young people’s future, supporting them to have the best possible start in life and creating the fairer, greener Scotland that we want to build.

The scheme will be delivered in partnership with Transport Scotland, the Improvement Service, the National Entitlement Card Programme Office (NECPO), Young Scot, local authorities and bus operators.

Information about the scheme and how to apply is available here: