Young Persons’ (Under 22s) Free Bus Travel costs: FOI release

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

Information requested

The total cost to the Scottish taxpayer for providing the "free" Young Persons’ (Under 22s) Free Bus Travel (per region). Also how much this has affected the rise in antisocial behaviour in City / Town centres since being introduced.


While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. This is because reimbursements for concessionary travel are made to the service operators and are not broken down by local authority area. This is mainly due to the fact that many services pass through multiple local authorities on their end to end journey and we do not have a mechanism for allocating the reimbursement for the overall journey to the individual boundaries for local authorities.

I am able to provide you the overall cost for the scheme since it's introduction in January 2022 which is £249,513,826 (as of 13 March 2024). This figure includes reimbursement costs to bus operators, implementation and ongoing operating costs.

The Scottish Government is aware that there have been reports of incidents of anti-social behaviour on buses over recent months and we are aware of concerns relating to anti-social behaviour in other public places.

The Scottish Government does not hold data on individual incidents, but uses official statistics to monitor trends on reported incidents and people’s own experiences or perceptions of antisocial behaviour. These include the quarterly Recorded Crime in Scotland bulletin; Scottish Crime and Justice Survey and Scottish Household Survey (both annual surveys).

Reported anti-social behaviour over the last decade has decreased. I recognise that not all incidents are reported, and anecdotal information arises. However, the Scottish Government surveys people’s own experiences, which indicate that people generally feel safer, and the core Recorded Crime data of reported incidents, which also indicates an overall decrease in anti-social behaviour.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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