Public consultation to be held on free bus pass system

image copyrightAlamy
image captionCurrently everyone over the aged of 60 is entitled to a free bus pass

The age at which Scots qualify for a free bus pass could be set to rise.

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said the Scottish government would hold a consultation on changes to the national concession travel scheme.

He wants to extend it to Modern Apprentices and those on Job Grants and said people who already had passes would retain them.

But he said ministers had to look at the "long-term sustainability" of offering all those over 60 free travel.

The Scotland-wide free bus pass entitlement scheme was introduced in 2006.

The card allows passengers, aged over 60 or disabled, to travel free on local, registered or scheduled long-distance services.

The transport minister has said a public consultation on changes to the current system will be held.

'Most need'

However, he insisted that current holders of the passes would be unaffected.

Mr Yousaf told BBC Scotland: "If you've got a free bus pass you will continue to have that free bus pass and continue to be able to use that pass in the way that you currently are.

"What we have said is that we want to extend the national travel scheme to Modern Apprentices, to those on a Job Grant, so that some young people, that are in the most need, can also benefit.

"But clearly people are living longer, they are staying in work longer - which are all good things - but it does add a pressure.

"So we will consult on the long-term sustainability of the national concession travel scheme and we look forward to hearing people's views."

Asked if the consultation was likely to result in a rise in the age at which people will qualify for free travel, the transport minister said: "I don't want to pre-empt any consultation.

"We are getting continued cuts from the Westminster government and we have to make sure our budgets go further.

"So if you have a pass you will absolutely continue to have that pass. I would urge everyone to get involved in the consultation."

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