Members of the travelling public in Orkney are being reminded to make sure they are taking advantage of travel concessions available to them.
Anyone aged over 60 and resident in Scotland is eligible to apply for the National Entitlement Card (NEC). This gives you free travel on public services buses throughout Scotland, and for Orkney residents two return ferry trips to the Scottish Mainland or Shetland each year.
The NEC scheme also offers concessionary travel for people with disabilities, and allows for free bus travel for companions where required for disabled people of any age (including children under 5) who meet the scheme eligibility criteria.
Anyone applying for a National Entitlement Card for the first time can do so using a new on-line system – where you can now also change your address, update your photo, renew an expired card or report as lost, stolen or damaged requesting a replacement. You will be guided through the process which includes scanning in documents to support your application.
A valid NEC card also gives you access to travel concessions currently offered by Orkney Islands Council.
Residents permanently living on Orkney’s Inner and Outer isles aged 65 and over, and residents with a disability of any age, can apply for a Council ‘SmartCard’ giving concessions for travel between the isles and the Orkney mainland. The current entitlement is 24 single trips per year with Orkney Ferries (residents of Papa Westray and North Ronaldsay can use the Smartcard for use on the air service).
Laura Cromarty is the Council’s Transportation Manager: “Since the online system for NEC cards went live, we’ve been really encouraged to see our 60+ and disabled residents using the system to apply for a card and maintain their details.
“Before this system, applications had to be submitted in person to the Council - for some folk this was tricky to manage, so it’s a change and an improvement we are wanting everyone to be aware of.
“We get around 100 ferry vouchers from the NEC scheme returned to us each year because folk have moved house etc and haven’t updated their details, so that’s another reason we want people to be aware they can update their details online. We want to ensure as much as possible that people are making best use of the local and national concessions they are entitled to.”
To find out more about NEC cards and Council’s ‘SmartCard’ scheme go to orkney.gov.uk/transport - click the ‘Concessionary Travel’ button.
The National Entitlement Card (NEC) is sometimes referred to as Saltire card or Bus Pass – these are all the same scheme.
Young Scot card is also part of the NEC scheme. To find out more about Young Scot card and discounted bus travel for young people visit the Young Scot website.
For more assistance, or for anyone that cannot apply online, contact the Council’s Transport team on 01856873535 extension 3637 or by email - have your NEC card handy if you have one.