By Lucy Ashton
Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Willie Rennie has today pressed the Scottish Government to fund local authorities to include night buses in the Young Persons’ Free Bus Travel Scheme.
His call comes after his constituent Mary Kennedy, a student at Edinburgh University, raised concerns that excluding the services put young people at risk when walking home late at night.
Jenny Gilruth and Willie Rennie.
In a letter to Mr Rennie, Transport Secretary Jenny Gilruth said that despite the free bus scheme being a Scottish Government initiative, the government would not be providing this funding and that it would be up to local authorities if they wanted to fund this themselves.
Willie Rennie said: “Young people are more likely to have jobs or social engagements that require them to travel home late at night so excluding the night buses from the free travel card is an odd decision.
“Sadly, we know that walking home late at night is not risk free, so removing the cost from these journeys could make a big difference.
“I have written to the transport minister to press the case for this to happen but sadly, at the moment the Scottish Government are just leaving this in the hands of already overstretched councils.
“The Scottish Government need to make sure that councils are properly resourced to allow free travel on all services. I will keep pressing ministers to make this happen.”