Colin Smyth MSP
Colin Smyth MSP

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has accused the Scottish Government of “congratulating themselves on a job half done” as new figures reveal 58% of children and young people in Scotland are missing out on their free bus pass. 

A Parliamentary Question has revealed that over 570,000 children and young people still don’t have their free bus pass 6 months after the scheme launched and more than two years after it was announced. 

In South Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway’s uptake was 30.1 per cent; East Ayrshire was 58.7 per cent; Scottish Borders was 39.1 per cent and South Ayrshire was just 27.1 per cent.

Colin Smyth said: “While the SNP and the Greens are busy congratulating themselves on a job half done, most young people still don’t have their pass this summer. The school holidays would’ve been the perfect time for young people to make use of their pass to go and explore Scotland and meet up with friends.

“It’s good to see uptake climbing, but this is pitiful progress half a year into this flagship scheme.

“People are still facing too many barriers applying and the hard truth is in huge parts of Scotland there simply aren’t enough buses for the pass to be of much use.

“It is time for the SNP-Green government to drop the spin and focus on delivering on this years-old promise so that no more children and young people miss out.

“If this was an exam, the SNP would have failed it.”

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