The Scottish Green MSPs have secured free bus travel across Scotland for everyone under the age of 19.

From January 2021, young people will enjoy the same free access to buses which has benefited so many over 60s.

This transformational policy will save families money, open up opportunities for young people and help tackle the climate emergency.

For teenagers, this means free transport to school, college, their first job, or just meeting with friends. I know how important this is in West Dunbartonshire, particularly for those travelling from places like Dumbarton or Alexandria to get to college in Clydebank or the city centre.

Buses provide a vital public service but the price of a fare has become so expensive its often a major barrier for young people travelling daily.

For families with young children, this will also mean major savings on days out.

So many people have contacted me to say they stopped using buses when their kids became too old for free travel as it simply became cheaper for them to use the car. Now that will no longer be the case. And for those without access to a car, it will be a huge boost.

Free travel for under 19s has far wider benefits too. By increasing the numbers of young people and families using the bus, endangered routes will be viable enough to avoid being cut. When I campaign to save local bus services, I get so many emails, letters and calls from residents, particularly young and elderly people, who rely on these buses to live their lives.

The most common response I get from the bus companies though is that more people need to use them if they want to see them stay, or better yet, see services improve. What the Greens have won will do just that.

Free bus travel for under 19s is just one part of our plan. Last summer, thanks to the Greens and Labour, local councils got the power to run their own bus services as a public service. The one publicly-owned bus service which survived Thatcher’s privatisation, Lothian Bus, is the best in the country and we want to see more of that, with services ran for the public, not for profit.

Under 19s is just the start though. The Scottish Greens want to see free bus travel expanded even further, for example to under 25s, carers and refugees, before eventually becoming free for all, as Estonia, Luxembourg and many cities across Europe are already doing.

Buses are a vital tool in tackling the climate emergency and air pollution. Giving people more opportunities to leave the car at home has never been more important and I’m proud the Greens have delivered this huge step forward.