Island impact assessment to be made on free bus travel scheme


Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart has today welcomed news that the Scottish Government is to carry out an island impact assessment over the recent announcement of free bus travel to those under the age of 22 with the hope that it would be extended to internal ferry travel in the islands. 

The Scottish Government announced the scheme, which will extend free bus travel to those living in Scotland who are under the age of 22, in their budget earlier this month. 

The Scottish Government has agreed to carry out an island impact assessment on the proposals and added that they were “considering ferry fares policy options through our ongoing review of concessionary travel arrangements across all modes for under 26-year olds and through the Islands Connectivity Plan.”

 

Commenting, Ms Wishart said:

“The decision to provide free bus travel to those under the age of 22 is the right decision.  It not only opens up more opportunities for young people but is also a step in the right direction to reducing our carbon footprint. 

“However, island communities could see less of benefit for young people as the scheme as it stands does not extend to free travel on ferries. It seems reasonable on that basis to roll-out the same initiative on internal ferry travel so that young people in Shetland benefit from the same travel subsidy, and the opportunities it brings, as those living on mainland Scotland. 

“I therefore welcome the Scottish Government’s willingness to ensure an island impact assessment on the scheme is carried out, which will hopefully see the need to extend the scheme to include internal ferry travel.”


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