PSA: Edinburgh students under 22 can now get free bus travel in Scotland

Here’s how you can apply for the scheme

Applications have now opened for all five to 21-year-olds living in Scotland to access free bus travel.

Those applying will need a new or replacement National Entitlement Card (NEC) or Young Scot National Entitlement Card (Young Scot NEC). Previously issued cards will not give you access to free bus travel.

The scheme will give under-22s free travel on any registered bus service in Scotland. You’ll be able to travel on buses outside the area you live in using an NEC card. Only a few services, such as premium-fare night buses and City Sightseeing buses, will not accept the card.

Applications for the scheme opened on January 10th, and free bus travel will be implemented from January 31st. The Scottish government is currently asking for only those with needs for essential travel to apply, with essential reasons including travelling for work, education, health, or care purposes.

The Scottish Government is working in partnership with the Improvement Service, the National Entitlement Card Programme Office, and Young Scot to deliver the scheme.

The requirements for being accepted into the scheme are that you are under 22 and have lived in Scotland for more than six months of the year, meaning that university students can apply.

You can apply for the scheme on the NEC website. To apply you need to enable your webcam and have a recent digital photo showing your head and shoulders.

The following photos or scans also need to be provided: proof of identity (such as a passport or driving license), proof of address (such as a council tax bill or bank statement), and proof of disability (if applying for disabled concessionary travel).

It takes around 10 days to be accepted for an NEC, and after that up to three weeks to find out if you are eligible for free bus travel. Once you have been accepted onto the scheme you do not need to reapply in subsequent years, however, once you turn 22 you will no longer be eligible for free bus travel and will have to pay the standard fare.