Toggle menu

Smart Ticketing - School Buses


Improvements are coming to school transport bus passes in West Lothian.

Following feedback from pupils we are introducing an electronic 'Smart Ticketing' system on our home to school bus services.

To make this as easy for young people as possible and reduce the number of cards that need to be carried, we will be using the Young Scot card in place of the current standard bus pass and 10 journey tickets currently issued by West Lothian Council.

What is Smart Ticketing and how does it work?

Smart ticketing is a new way of using School Transport in West Lothian using a contactless card system to confirm eligibility on home to school bus services. It works the same way as other contactless card technology where pupils will use their Young Scot card to tap the card reader on the bus. The system then checks that the pupil is entitled and on the correct bus.

When will this happen?

Some secondary schools have been involved in pilots of the Smart Ticketing system, this will be introduced on the remainder of secondary schools from the start of term in  August 2022.

Smart Ticketing will be introduced on Primary School routes later in the school session. Information will be circulated via schools when this is due to begin at your child's school.

Why are we doing this?

There are several benefits with Smart Ticketing for pupils, West Lothian Council and the bus operators.

Pupils raised issues during some engagement sessions and we received some valuable feedback. Pupils were concerned about the number of cards they were having to carry to access various services. The services available with the Young Scot card is increasing and by using this for school transport would mean that they no longer have to carry a separate bus pass. Using the Young Scot card on school transport is expected to help with confidence in using technology to access other services and with the introduction of the Scottish Government's Under 22 free travel scheme on public buses will encourage the wider use of public transport services.

By using a smart ticketing system, West Lothian Council can access data on how many people use services each day and be able to assign a vehicle most suitable to the route. This could reduce the need for larger vehicles and help to reduce carbon emissions.

For bus operators it provides a clear simple solution to checking bus passes and ensures that only those who should be on the bus are using the service.


What do I need to do?

If your child already has a Young Scot card please include the ITSO card number located on the front of the card, this is an 18 digit number beginning 633597, in the application form for school transport for August 2022. Please remember that all entitled pupils should apply/re-apply for school transport for the new school session.

If your child does not already have a Young Scot card, You should still apply/re-apply for School Transport and update us with your ITSO card number once you have received your Young Scot Card using this form:

 Tell Passenger Transport you have a new Young Scot Card (opens new window)

You can apply for a Young Scot card at or visit our Young Scot Card website for further information on how to apply.

For those entitled to free school transport, details of your allocated route will be emailed to you with a link to the timetable information on our website. An estimated timeline for applications is available at .

I have applied for the new under 22's free travel scheme, can I now use the school buses?

The Scottish Government's under 22's free travel scheme is a separate product for public transport and is not connected to West Lothian Council's smart ticketing product. West Lothian dedicated school transport routes are not part of the public transport network and has different eligibility.

If you are currently not eligible to free school transport, having the under 22's free travel scheme product activated on your Young Scot card does not automatically allow access to dedicated school transport services for free. Further information on eligibility and application for free school transport can be found at School Transport

I do not want my child to have access to the under 22's free travel scheme with the Young Scot card, what can I use instead?

School transport is separate to the Scottish Government Under 22's Free Travel Scheme so you are not required to sign up to this. When completing the application for the Young Scot Card you simply do not opt into the free travel scheme and will receive a Young Scot card that does not allow free travel on public services which the council will then activate for School Transport.

Can I use any school bus?

No, as is currently in place pupils must only use their allocated bus. Your Young Scot card will only permit access to your allocated bus service.

If you need a reminder of your allocated bus route, you can contact 

What happens if...

...I have lost my Young Scot card or my card doesn't work?

Please contact the school office for a temporary pass and apply for a replacement Young Scot card. Your new Young Scot card will have a new number, please contact so we can update your record and ensure your new card works on the school bus.

...I apply for the under 22's free travel scheme and receive a new card?

If you have recently applied for a new Young Scot card, and it does not work when you attempt to use it on the school bus, please notify passenger transport of your new card number on the form below.

Tell Passenger Transport you have a new Young Scot Card (opens new window)

...I don't receive a Young Scot card in time for smart ticketing starting at my school?

Please contact the school office for a temporary pass which can be used until your Young Scot card arrives and is activated.


Still have questions?

You can contact and a colleague will get back to you as soon as possible.


Smarter Choices Smarter Places

West Lothian Council gratefully acknowledges the support of Paths for All and the Smarter Choices Smarter Places Open Fund.