Teenagers in Ayrshire are gearing up to enjoy free bus travel under a new government scheme.

The Scottish Government is getting set to extend free bus travel to all young people under the age of 19.

Draft legislation has now been put forward which, if approved by the Scottish Parliament, will enable arrangements to be put in place for the scheme to start this year.

Extending free bus travel to approximately 770,000 young people will deliver on parliamentary budget agreements and was a commitment outlined in the 2020 Programme for Government.

Once the scheme starts, young people under the age of 19 will join the third of Scotland’s population who already benefit from free bus travel.

The same legislation will also extend the existing National Concessionary Travel Scheme to eligible disabled children under the age of five, allowing free travel for a companion accompanying them.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said: “By progressing our commitment to introduce free bus travel to young people under 19, the Scottish Government is strengthening its response to the climate emergency, supporting our green recovery and working to reduce inequalities.

"This is in keeping with our National Transport Strategy which aims to advance equality of opportunity and take action to protect our climate. With young people having been disproportionately impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s right that we begin preparing to build back better as restrictions ease over the coming year.

"Not only is this good news for young people, it’s good news for bus operators.

"They will see increased patronage from future generations, who will be able to freely discover the convenience of sustainable bus travel in accessing education, employment and for leisure."