Getting and using your card

Using your card

Using your card is really easy. Make sure you have your card with you and then when you get on the bus, tell the bus driver where you are going, tap it on the electronic card reader to use it and the smart technology will do the rest.

If you are over 11 years old you can choose to apply for the Young Scot NEC. You can use it to save money with in-person and online discounts – with over 500 discounts in Scotland and over 100,000 deals across Europe. It also acts as proof of age. What’s more, you can collect points by taking part in activities and exchanging these for Rewards. Find out more at Young Scot’s website.

Your responsibilities


  • It’s your card and only your card – your friends can’t borrow it.
  • Take good care of it – if you forget it or it gets damaged and doesn’t work, you’ll need to pay the fare.
  • If your card has a photo, make sure it is up to date and it looks like you.
  • Always keep in touch with your family and friends to let them know where you are – it’s important to stay safe.

The main thing is to have your card on you whenever you want to take the bus – otherwise you’ll have to pay for your trip. Parents or guardians – this means you too! Don’t forget your wee one’s card when you travel.

Very occasionally, the driver will advise you that your card has been “hotlisted” or “blocked”. This usually means that it is an old card you are trying to use, and you have requested a replacement. You may have reported your old card as lost, stolen, not working, or any number of other reasons. If you have reported your card as lost, stolen, not working etc you will be sent a new one, unless you have been informed that you are no longer eligible, or suspended from the scheme. If you have not received your new card within 14 days please contact your local council.

Got any questions on using your card? – go to Help and Support.

On the bus

Your NEC will take you to school, get you to work, take you to the shops and let you visit your friends and family – and you don’t have to pay a thing.

It also gives you the freedom to travel anywhere in Scotland. Dumfries to Dundee. Lochinver to Loch Ness. Selkirk to Saltcoats. And everywhere in between.

If there’s a bus to get you there, you can take it.

Just tap and tell the driver where you’re going. It’s a wee gem.

Travelling responsibly

  • You need to take precautions to be safe.
  • Cooperate with the driver and treat them and other passengers with respect.
  • If your card has a photo, make sure it’s up to date and looks like you. No filters please!
  • Ensure you are the only person that can hear your music.
  • Make sure you pick up all your litter.
  • Keep your feet off the seats.

People with disabilities

When you’re on the bus be aware of the people around you. They may need the seat more than you. Please be considerate of all other passengers.

You can’t always see peoples’ disabilities. Many people have hidden as well as physical disabilities and you shouldn’t make assumptions.

More about the scheme

How it works

Find out who is eligible for free bus travel and what buses you can use. 

About us

The Scottish Government has worked closely with its delivery partners to deliver free bus travel for under 22s.

Going green

The scheme is part of the Scottish Government’s plan to build a fairer, greener society.