South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy & Transport & Rural Affairs Colin Smyth is urging eligible local people to sign up for the new young person’s bus pass scheme.
The flagship scheme, first promised back in February 2020, launched last week and the local MSP is hopeful that as many eligible young people sign up as possible.
However, the launch was mired in confusion, with applicants facing a lengthy application process and the Transport Minister actively discouraging applications.
The Scottish Government has insisted that, for the time being, young people should only apply if the journeys are “essential” – in direct contradiction of the universal aims of the scheme.
Colin Smyth said the SNP must fix the “shambles” they have created in the roll-out of their young person’s bus pass.
He said: “I am urging as many eligible local young people as possible to sign up to this scheme, despite what the Government minister has said.
“The roll-out of the free bus pass should have been a good news story for young people but it has been beset with problems, from mixed messages on public health to a complicated application process.
“The Scottish Government should work with schools to maximise uptake.
“Every child and young person should have the chance to make the most of free bus travel. The new pass can help young people connect with the communities around them and access education, training or work. Young people shouldn’t face barriers to applying.
“Our young people should be trusted to use the bus pass safely and to make the most of their bus pass when Covid cases come down.
“The SNP must fix this shambles so every eligible child and young person in Scotland can benefit.”