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New figures showing the impact of free bus travel on Renfrewshire have been welcomed as, “gamechanging” by a parliamentary hopeful.

SNP candidate for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, Gavin Newlands, said the numbers demonstrated the massive saving to household spending in the middle of the continuing cost of living crisis.

New analysis shows 2,364 under-22s in the Paisley and Renfrewshire North constituency, and 32,094 over 60s across Renfrewshire as a whole benefit from their entitlement to the free bus pass.

All under-22s, over-60s and disabled people can apply for a National Entitlement Card, which provides free bus travel anywhere in Scotland.

Parents can apply from a child’s 5th birthday for their card, ensuring they are exempt from fares on the bus.

Since the introduction of the young persons’ scheme in January 2022, over 100 million journeys have been made in Scotland, with 62% of eligible young people having applied for their National Entitlement Card.

Gavin said:

“Every journey taken using the free bus pass is a journey that saves money, saves the environment, and saves time, and I’d encourage anyone who’s entitled but not yet taking advantage of this scheme to get their application in now.

“At a time when the Westminster cost of living crisis continues to wreak havoc on households finances, free bus travel is a huge boost to households who are saving every day on their journeys to work, school, shops and anywhere else they travel.

“We also know that the most deprived communities rely most of all on the bus, so this is a gamechanger for families that need help the most, on top of the unique Scottish Child Payment.

“We know this policy has been truly transformative, reducing travel costs for older people, and young people and their families; encouraging a shift towards public transport, and improving access to social, leisure, education and employment opportunities.

“The free bus pass has been a gamechanger over the years, initially for our older citizens but now for the young as well, a tribute to the hard work put in by Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government in funding and running these schemes at a time when Westminster austerity is hitting public budgets hard.

“A vote for the SNP at this election is a vote for the kind of public funding our country needs to continue supporting households during the cost of living crisis – and a vote for the independence our nation needs to go further into the future.”


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