SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, has welcomed today’s confirmation from the Scottish Government that all islanders under the age of 22 will now be entitled to a set number of free journeys to and from the mainland.
At present, 16-18 year olds in the Western Isles, as well as the Inner Hebrides and Northern Isles, are entitled to four free island to mainland passenger journeys a year. This scheme will now be extended to include under 16s and those aged 19-21.
The islands’ MSP has repeatedly pushed for the extension of the scheme to help Western Isles young people to make the most of their existing entitlement to free bus travel around Scotland. In his most recent meeting with Transport Minister Fiona Hyslop MSP, the Minister confirmed that the proposal to extend the free ferry journeys scheme was being examined as part of the Scottish Government Fair Fares Review.
Commenting, Alasdair Allan said:
“Today’s announcement is very welcome indeed, and is something I, and other local representatives, have been consistent in calling for on behalf of our islands’ young people.
“I hope that young people in the Western Isles will now be able to take advantage of free travel to and from the mainland, linking them to bus services where they will be able to take full advantage of their existing entitlement to free travel on all of Scotland’s bus routes. This decision recognises the travel needs of young islanders, and is an important step in improving the ability of our islands’ young people to make as much use as possible of our ferry services.”