Scots under 22 can now apply for free bus travel with registration opening on Monday, January 10.

Young people can register for a card from today with the scheme launching at the end of January.

The initiative aims to help open up opportunities for young people, reduce family costs and pave the way for greener travel

With the new scheme about to launch, here's who is eligible for the scheme and everything you need to do to apply. 

Who is eligible for free bus travel under the scheme?

Those aged between five and 21 years old, living in Scotland can apply for free bus travel from Monday, January 10.

Children under-five can already travel on Scottish bus services for free and do not need a card to do so.

You should only apply for the bus pass if you are making essential journeys in line with current Scottish Government Covid-19 advice to stay at home as much as possible.

Essential journeys could include travel for education, work, health or care needs, Transport Scotland has said.

Young people will need either a new or replacement National Entitlement Card (NEC) or Young Scot National Entitlement Card (Young Scot NEC) to access the free services. 

You will not be able to use a previously issued card to access the scheme and the photo must look like you to ride for free. 

Where can the Free Bus Travel card be used?

Eligible Scots will be able to use their free bus travel card on all registered bus services in Scotland. 

This also includes a limited number of local cross border services from the South of Scotland into Northern England.

If you are a parent or guardian applying on behalf of your child, please be aware that they will be able to ride the majority of services in most parts of Scotland before applying.

However, there are a few services, including premium-fare night buses and City Sightseeing buses that are not included. 

Transport Scotland recommends that you check with the bus company before travelling.

The Herald: Traffic including buses driving through the city centre. Credit: PATraffic including buses driving through the city centre. Credit: PA

When does the Under 22 Free Bus travel scheme start?

While young people can apply for their free bus pass from Monday, January 10, the scheme will not officially start until January 31. 

Once you have applied, it should take ten working days after your application was approved before you receive the card. 

The processing time could be longer due to the current impact of the pandemic. 

How to apply for free bus travel if you're under 22

You can apply for free bus travel in several different ways, including online and in-person.

Apply online

Aged 16-21?

You will need to apply for an NEC card yourself.

If you're applying online, you can use a smartphone, tablet or computer depending on what you prefer.

To get your card, you will need either scanned documents or photographs for your proof of entitlement, make sure you have these read.

Go to this website - GETYOURNEC.SCOT - to apply for your card.

Under 16?

Those aged between five and 16 years old must have a parent or guardian apply on their behalf. 

As above, you will need scanned or photographed documents to prove eligibility. 

Users can go to the GETYOURNEC.SCOT website to register for the pass. 

If the young person's school uses it, you can also apply at on their behalf.

Apply in-person

If you don't have regular digital access, you can still benefit from the scheme by signing up in person. 

You can apply for a new or replacement NEC card at your local council office. 

See where your local council office is and how to get in touch with them via the Transport Scotland website.

Some local councils may not be offering in-person applications due to the pandemic so you check the website or call before going to your council office. 

Some schools will be helping students with their applications in some council areas but schools will contact you directly about this arrangement.