Free Travel for Under 22s & Over 60s

free as a bird

Under 22s Travel Scheme

Free bus travel for children and young people will help to embed long-term and sustainable travel behaviours, reduce poverty, provide access to education and leisure activities, and open doors to new experiences. 

  • Accessing your free travel

Children and young people need a new or replacement National Entitlement Card (NEC) or Young Scot National Entitlement Card (Young Scot NEC) before they can travel by bus for free.  

Excluding those under the age of five, anyone entitled will not be able to travel for free on the bus without a valid NEC or a Young Scot NEC and will need to pay for the fare as normal. 

Children under five years old will continue to travel for free by bus and don’t need a card. 

There are two ways to apply: 

• Online at (or through if this is used by your child’s school).

• Local council: if you cannot apply online please contact your local council who can tell you how to proceed. provides all the information needed to apply, we have also provided some more info below which you may find useful. 

Many children and young people already have an NEC or Young Scot NEC. However, this cannot be used to travel by bus for free. For free bus travel those eligible must replace their current card with a new one.

  • What you need to get a National Entitlement Card (NEC) or Young Scot NEC 

Proof of identity (your name and age), proof of residence (where you usually live) and a photograph if you are aged 11 years old or older. Documents include birth certificate or passport, digital image of child if over 11. If you are a parent/guardian applying on behalf of a five to 15 year old you must provide the same documentation as the child (we would recommend obtaining a Yoti account. This account can then be used to verify your identity when applying for an NEC or Young Scot NEC on GETYOURNEC.SCOT.

For replacements and to apply for a new National Entitlement Card (NEC) or a Young Scot NEC visit 

  • Why a new National Entitlement Card (NEC) or Young Scot NEC is required 

Digital access to the free bus travel scheme will be added to your new card. All bus journeys made under the scheme must be recorded so the Scottish Government can reimburse operators for the fare. Tapping the NEC or Young Scot NEC on the ticket machine each time you travel makes this possible. 

All student ticket holders must show a valid, UK, student matriculation card with a photograph, which has been issued by their college or university, at all times when boarding a McGill's bus. Passengers unable to present their student matriculation card will be required to purchase an adult single ticket for their journey. Please note that we cannot accept student cards that do not have a photograph. 

  • Travel anywhere in Scotland  

The Young Persons’ Free Bus Travel Scheme for Under 22s means those eligible can travel anywhere in Scotland on local and long-distance bus services, apart from a few exceptions such as premium-fare night buses, city sightseeing buses, and some airport transfer services.  

If you travelling to England, you will be able to travel to Carlisle or Berwick-Upon- Tweed but cannot be used to travel within these towns. 

  • No travel limits across Scotland 

For those eligible, there are no limits on when you can travel. Most bus services across Scotland are included, but you cannot use tour buses or any services that are charged at a premium rate.

  • Can an unaccompanied child travel on the bus for free? 

For 5–15-year-olds, if a parent or guardian has approved them to have access to free bus travel, and they are happy for them to travel unaccompanied, then yes. 

Free travel for over 60’s and people with disabilities

In Scotland, everyone get’s a special birthday gift when they turn 60; the gift of free bus travel in Scotland with a National Entitlement Card (N.E.C). Seniors can travel on buses throughout Scotland including the whole network here in the East, however some premium services like night buses and sightseeing buses will not accept N.E.C but a discounted concession rate may apply. Likewise, people with disabilities may be eligible for free travel allowing them to get around.

There are no restrictions on when and how often you can travel using your National Entitlement Card, so whether you are socialising with friends, pursuing a hobby, or simply visiting your local shops; All you need to do is hop on the bus, place your card on the card reader, let the driver know your destination; take a seat and enjoy the ride.

How to apply for your N.E.C

The application process may take up to a few weeks, so you can apply for your National Entitlement Card online up to 2 weeks before your 60th birthday so you are ready to go come the big day. Discover the freedom of a bus pass and apply for your National Entitlement Card here.

More information about the N.E.C can be found on the Transport for Scotland Website.

If you require assistance with your application form, you can email

If you require assistance with your application form, you can call 01786 237 500.

Please note, we are not obliged to provide replacement travel for cards which have been lost or stolen; in this event, tickets must be paid for at the adult ticket price, if you require a replacement N.E.C you can apply for your replacement card here.