Scotland-wide Free Bus Travel Scheme

Scotland-wide Free Bus Travel Scheme for Older and Disabled People

The Scotland-wide Free Bus Travel Scheme for Older and Disabled People was introduced on 1 April 2006 and provides free travel on local registered bus services and scheduled long distance bus journeys for people aged sixty or over and eligible disabled people who are resident in Scotland.

The legislation governing the scheme - The National Bus Travel Concession Scheme for Older and Disabled Persons (Scotland) Order 2006 (SSI No.107/2006) and the National Bus Travel Concession Scheme for Older and Disabled Persons (Eligible Persons and Eligible Services) (Scotland) Order 2006 (SSI No.117/2006) - can be viewed on the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) website www.opsi.gov.uk/legislation/scotland/s-200601.htm

Those eligible under the Scheme are issued with a National entitlement Card which will allow them unlimited free bus travel throughout Scotland at any time of day, including the morning rush hour. The Scheme also provides two free return ferry journeys to the mainland for card holders living on Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.

The scheme is administered by Transport Scotland, Scotland's national transport agency. Further information about the Scheme and details of how to apply for a National Entitlement Card are available on Transport Scotland's website www.transportscotland.gov.uk/concessionary-travel.

The key objectives of the older and disabled national concessionary fares policy are to:

  • Allow older and disabled people (especially those on low incomes) improved access to services, facilities and social networks by 'free' scheduled bus services; and so promote social inclusion
  • To improve health by promoting a more active lifestyle for the elderly and disabled
  • To remove the restrictions of the previous local off-peak concessionary fare scheme which produced differences in access to facilities in different areas of Scotland
  • Promote modal shift from private car to public transport
  • Maintain no better; no worse off position for bus operators with standard reimbursement rate
  • Provide opportunity for improvements to public transport (e.g. assist development of multi-operator ticketing; use of improved Electronic Ticket Machine (ETM) technology)
  • Facilitate a more effective administration of the system with adoption of standard reimbursement rate and shift of operational responsibility from local authorities to Transport Scotland
  • Provide a stimulus to the introduction of SMARTCARD