More than 50 million journeys have been made by Scottish youngsters since Holyrood introduced free bus travel for under 22s more than a year ago.
Everyone in Scotland under the age of 22, everyone 60 and over, and disabled people and companions are entitled to free bus travel under the Scottish Government’s concessionary bus travel schemes.
More than two million people are eligible for free travel under the schemes, and Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth said it was “really encouraging that over 50 million free bus journeys have now been made by under-22s across Scotland”.
The Transport Minister said evidence from the Child Poverty Action Group had shown “free bus travel can save a total of £3,000 in the lifetime cost of a child in Scotland”.
Patrick Harvie, active travel minister, said: “Fifty million free journeys made by under-22s is a big landmark and part of an even bigger effort to promote public transport and walking, wheeling and cycling as the easiest ways to get around.”
Martin Crewe, director of Barnardo’s Scotland, said the scheme had “created a wealth of new opportunities for young people to access education, work, training and leisure activities, with more young people using bus services as a result”.
Across Scotland there are 590,178 card holders as of the week beginning March 6, according to the government, who said this would mean 63.5% of those eligible have signed up.
In Edinburgh, 89.4% have signed up, where 71,975 youngsters have made 11.26 million journeys using their free bus pass. In the Scottish Capital, it means each card has made an average of 156 journeys.
Inverclyde, North Ayrshire, and Dundee are the following three areas which have the highest uptake.
Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, has just below the nationwide average of people taking up the scheme. Some 62.3% of under-22s, or 62,867, have made 6,126,882 journeys.
Western Isles Council has the lowest uptake, with 40.4% taking up the offer. Clackmannanshire had 40.6% of those eligible, while Falkirk had 41.2%.
Mr Harvie said: “As we look ahead to the next 50 million journeys, I want to make sure that every young person takes up the benefit of free bus travel.”