Colin Smyth MSP
Colin Smyth MSP

South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy & Transport & Rural Affairs Colin Smyth has criticised the SNP’s “botched” young person’s bus pass scheme as figures reveal less than 1 in 3 young people in Scotland have a pass.

Data obtained by Scottish Labour from the Scottish Parliament reveal that more than 70 per cent of eligible young people still don’t have a pass, four months after the flagship scheme was launched and two years after it was first announced.

This follows a shambolic launch in January, in which then-Transport Minister Graeme Dey bizarrely discouraged young people from applying, with many applicants raising concerns about burdensome and complex process.

As a result, take-up across Scotland is still lagging at just short of 30 per cent. In Dumfries and Galloway the figure is just 19 per cent; Scottish Borders is 27.6 per cent; South Ayrshire is 18.1 per cent and in South Lanarkshire 13.3 per cent.


The local MSP called for the process to be streamlined and for Councils across Scotland to be supported by the Scottish Government to put an end to the postcode lottery.

Colin Smyth said: “Free bus passes for young people should have been a good news story but these dire figures are a humiliation for the SNP and the Greens, who have spent years talking about this card but still failed miserably to deliver it.

“The botched scheme is a huge missed opportunity, which could have unlocked opportunities for children and young people, eased the cost of living crisis for families, and helped us tackle the climate emergency.

“Instead, the SNP’s rampant incompetence has let a rare good news story descend into chaos – and it is young people who are paying the price.

“The Scottish Government must streamline the process and support other Councils to end the postcode lottery.

“It is time to finally deliver on this years-old promise so that no more children and young people miss out.”

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