MATHESON ANNOUNCES EXTENSION TO FREE BUS PASS SCHEME

Families in Falkirk district with young disabled children are set to benefit from an extension to Scotland’s concessionary travel scheme.

Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, announced the expansion as he confirmed that everyone over 60 would continue to get a free bus pass.

The decision not to change the age of eligibility follows a Scottish Government consultation. After feedback from people and organisations across Scotland, it was also decided that companions of eligible disabled children aged under five will receive free bus passes – a move that is expected to benefit more than 3000 families across Scotland.

Mr Matheson, the MSP for Falkirk West, said: “Many people in Falkirk district and across Scotland get great benefit from the free bus pass in their daily lives. I’m delighted that the Scottish Government is now expanding the scheme to include companions of eligible disabled children aged under five.

“The concessionary travel scheme enables independence, accessibility and social inclusivity. We have listened closely to the many respondents who feel that the free bus pass should remain available to all from the age of 60 and decided not to change the age of eligibility, which I know will be welcome news for people across the constituency.

“Meanwhile, we will continue to explore options to provide free bus travel for Modern Apprentices, while keeping the scheme under review and maintaining a balanced budget.

“We are investing in, and encouraging more people to use, our bus services – and the £230million we spend on the bus pass every year is a substantial part of this effort.”

Kayleigh Thorpe, head of campaigns at charity ENABLE Scotland, welcomed the extension of the concessionary travel scheme.

She said: “The cost of travel can prove a significant burden upon families who may already be under substantial financial pressure with the additional costs of raising a disabled child. We are delighted that families of disabled children can now access this support.”