NEC cards – what are they and how do I get one?
On 31 January 2022 a new bus scheme was launched for Scottish citizens under the age of 22. The free bus program runs through the National Entitlement Card (NEC) which you can apply for. here.
What is this?
An NEC card is very little! It’s a valid ID in the UK, it’s your ‘pay’ card when you use the buses, and it’s sort of a membership card that gets you a lot of discounts ( when registering a Young Scot card, available to all residents of Scotland).
How does an NEC card work?
The card works like any contactless card when you use it to board any bus in Scotland; including Mgeabus, Stagecoach and all sorts of buses that take you from town to town (in Scotland). It’s not limited to city center trips, which I find amazing, as it allows young university students to experience Scotland in a really affordable way! You can even use it to book bus tickets online, but this is subject to a £1 booking fee. You can always board a bus without a reservation, but it can be a bit hit or miss if the bus is full and you can’t get on it.
Are NEC cards worth it?
Absolutely! As a student who doesn’t live right in the center of Dundee, I rely heavily on bus travel. Between July 2021 and January 2022 I spent over £700 on bus tickets! It was an insane amount of money for me and now it means I’ll save around £1500 next year (until I’m 22 and out of the free bus scheme ) on bus fares in Scotland! It’s so much money! The card has also given me an additional form of identification which I love, since I no longer need to carry my passport or national ID on me, which is a huge relief for me as I often fear of losing them and the cost of replacing them.
As an NEC can also double as a Young Scots card, you can get your hands on hundreds of discounts ranging from hotels around the world to escape rooms to driving lessons! Isn’t that awesome? Highly recommend applying for the free bus scheme if you’re under 22 and a Young Scot card separately if you’re under 26! Enjoy it 🙂