SNP MSP for Cunninghame South, Ruth Maguire, has encouraged constituents to take part in a Scottish Government consultation on Free Bus Travel for Older and Disabled People and Modern Apprentices.

The popular and valued scheme improves access for older and disabled people to essential services and opens up participation in family and other social activities that would otherwise not be affordable.

Over 1.3 million bus pass holders currently benefit from the Scotland-wide free bus travel scheme for older and disabled people. They make around 145 million bus journeys each year representing around a third of all bus journeys made in Scotland.

The Scottish Government is currently considering how best to ensure the longer-term sustainability of the scheme, so that free bus travel can continue to benefit those who have the greatest need. In recognition of the particular challenges facing younger people, the Scottish Government is also considering the possibility of extending free bus travel to Modern Apprentices – as well as free companion travel for eligible disabled children under five who are not currently covered by the Scheme.

It is important to note that those who already have a bus pass, or who obtain one before any changes are made, will not lose it.

The consultation is open until 17th November 2017 and people can take part here.

Commenting, Ruth said:

“This SNP Scottish Government’s provision of free bus travel is an important and valued source of support for older and disabled people, helping them to live more independent and fulfulling lives.

The Scottish Government is committed to continuing to provide free bus travel for those who need it the most, and this consultation is about looking at the options to ensure the longer-term sustainability of the scheme as well as the possibility of extending the support to Modern Apprentices and free companion travel for eligible disabled children under five.

This consultation process is your opportunity to share your opinion on the scheme and its future, and to contribute towards informing the policies that are adopted. I would urge all constituents with a view on this to make their voice heard.

I would also like to reassure people that whatever happens going forward, if you already have a bus pass, or obtain one before any changes are made, you will not lose it.”