ALL secondary pupils should get free travel, a north-west Glasgow councillor has urged.

Glasgow Drumchapel/Anniesland Councillor Paul Carey has written to Scotland’s transport minister, Humza Yousaf, proposing all children attending secondary schools to have free access to public transport.

He said the current statutory walking distance of three miles excluded some families who struggled to make bus fares to school.

West Dunbartonshire Council’s leader, Martin Rooney, has expressed support for the idea, but the Scottish government said it was entirely a matter for local authorities. They said Mr Yousaf has written back to Cllr Carey asking for a costed proposal.

Cllr Carey said: “Within my local ward, some constituents’ children do not qualify for free transport to secondary school. In some cases they only miss out by 0.1 of a mile.

“I find this unacceptable in this day and age and I strongly believe that any young person that needs transport to secondary school should be given this for free regardless of where they live, as some parents struggle to give their children bus fares to school.”

West Dunbartonshire Council leader, Councillor Martin Rooney, agreed with his colleague over the border.

He told the Post: “This is similar to an issue I have raised a number of times at a regional level with Strathclyde Passenger Transport reps and with Skills Development Scotland. I believe that there is a really good case for providing all school children and young adults free transport within SPT area.

“This would remove the requirement to provide school buses and would help young people to get to out of school activities at nights and weekends. It would also be really helpful to young people going to college, apprenticeships and jobs as travel costs are a barrier to them.

“The wider social value is that we would support the use of public transport and young people would be more likely to use public transport in future, helping to sustain much needed services.”

Claire Marshall, chairwoman of Faifley Community Council, was cautiously supportive. She said: “I think it’s a great proposal however where would the money for this come? Also I’m unsure why Councillor Carey is asking Scottish government when school transport is funded by local government. Maybe he should be asking his colleagues?”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Local authorities have a duty to make necessary and safety-conscious transport arrangements between home and school for pupils in their area.

“The Scottish Government sets the statutory walking distance (two miles for pupils [aged] under eight, and three miles for older) as a minimum service requirement.

“Any decision on specifics, including the provision of free transport within the statutory walking distance, is at the discretion of local authorities.”