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MSP Ariane Burgess hails ‘transformative’ impact of free bus travel for young people in the Highlands

By Niall Harkiss

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Ariane Burgess, Scottish Greens MSP for Highlands & Islands.
Ariane Burgess, Scottish Greens MSP for Highlands & Islands.

The impact of free bus travel for young people living in the Highlands has been hailed as “transformative” by a Highland MSP.

Scottish Greens MSP Ariane Burgess, who represents Highlands & Islands, is urging more to take advantage of the scheme, joining over 20,000 people under the age of 22 who have signed up for the free pass so far.


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New figures, published by the Scottish Government, show that over 22,727 young people in the Highlands are already benefiting from the scheme, allowing them to travel anywhere in Scotland.

The ground-breaking initiative was secured through negotiations between the Scottish Greens and the Scottish Government. Scotland is the only country in the UK that offers free bus travel for all young people under 22.

Over 137 million free bus journeys have been taken across the country, allowing young people to travel for work or education, or simply to visit friends and family.

Ariane Burgess, the Scottish Greens MSP for Highlands & Islands, said: "The free bus travel scheme for under-22s has been transformative, and in some cases life-changing, for young people in the Highlands.

"Allowing young people to access school, work or leisure for free is helping to support them and their families through a Tory cost-of-living crisis which has hit everyone in Scotland.

"The scheme has opened up huge opportunities for young people across our communities, creating exciting new chapters and helping them to explore the country and develop crucial skills for the future.

"Transport is Scotland's largest source of carbon emissions. Encouraging people to use public transport rather than take the car is a huge boost for our environment and will reduce the number of cars on our roads.

“As well as supporting fare-free travel, national and local government must play its part by ensuring funding for more and better local bus services, especially in rural areas.

"22,727 young people in the Highlands have already signed-up for their free pass, and I urge all those who have not yet registered to do so today at freebus.scot.”

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