How it works

Free nationwide bus travel for Under 22s in Scotland!

Nearly one million children and young people between 5 and 21 living in Scotland can now benefit from free bus travel.

It’s part of the Scottish Government’s plan to build a fairer, greener society. See what that means for you.

Find out how free bus travel works for you

The National Entitlement Card (NEC) or Young Scot National Entitlement Card (Young Scot NEC) is your key to opening doors to new experiences, opportunities and adventures across Scotland with free bus travel.

It is operated by Transport Scotland who pay bus operators for each journey made. Each journey needs to be recorded electronically, which is why you need an NEC or Young Scot NEC to travel.

Once you have your card you’ll be able to travel on most buses across Scotland. There are few that aren’t included in the scheme such as premium fare services, sightseeing buses, cross-border services and dedicated school buses.

For 5-15 year olds

Children and young people between 5 and 15 will need a new or replacement NEC or Young Scot NEC before they can hop on board. Parents, guardians or carers of children between 5 and 15 will need to apply on their child’s behalf.

Find out the best way to apply for you.

For 16-21 year olds

If you’re aged between 16 and 21 you can apply for a new or replacement card today.

If you have an active NEC or Young Scot NEC already, you can download free bus travel onto your card using the Transport Scot Pass Collect app. This means you won’t need to apply for a new card to access your free bus travel.

Make sure you have your card with you when you board the bus. Tell the bus driver where you are going then tap your card on the electronic ticket machine. The smart technology will take care of the rest. Go on. Free yourself!

You can tell if you have an active card. They 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 the best way to apply for you.

Getting the bus

If getting the bus is new to you, here are some handy tips for turning you into a bus-trip pro.

Planning a journey

If you’ve never travelled on the bus by yourself, here’s what to do and what to expect.

Getting your card

First of all, you’ll need to have all your documents ready. Here’s a list to help you.

Staying safe

New to using the bus or want to learn how to be a savvy traveller? Check out our advice for children, young people and parents on how to stay safe while travelling.