COP26 delegate free travel passes costs: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

“The costs incurred to the Scottish Government in setting up travel arrangements for delegates of the COP26 conference in accessing free transport whilst attending this event.

Can you please advise when this project commenced and when and where it was put out for consideration?

Given the people of Glasgow do not have access to what is being widely reported as being unique to this event, can the Scottish Government provide a timetable as to when it will be available to residents and workers of Glasgow?”


I can confirm that the provision of free delegate travel passes was a decision made by the UK Government as part of their agreement with the United Nations to bid for the conference in the UK. Costs associated with COP26 transport, including those for free delegate travel, will be met by the UK Government. The project to produce smartcards for COP26 delegates formed part of the overall COP26 Transport Planning, which commenced in 2019.

Regarding your request for a timetable for smartcards to be made available in Glasgow, it may be helpful to explain that the technology already exists for passengers to use one smartcard to travel on bus, rail, tram and subway, however adopting universal or regional smart ticketing schemes is ultimately a commercial matter for transport operators and local transport authorities.

We have strengthened smart ticketing measures for local transport authorities in the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 to further enable growth in adopting multi-modal smart and integrated ticketing schemes. The Act also makes provision for using one technological standard for ticketing schemes - this will ensure public transport operators are using the same standard and should drive forward a coordinated approach, improving the customer offer. Transport Scotland continues to work with regional bodies (like SPT’s Zonecard) to support existing schemes with moving onto a smart platform.

Further information can be found at the following link: Scotland's travel smartcards are now smarter than ever (

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