SBC on-board with bus operators to promote free travel

Free bus pass marketing campaign launched.
Megan Koszteyn and Kirsty Wilson.Megan Koszteyn and Kirsty Wilson.
Megan Koszteyn and Kirsty Wilson.

Scottish Borders Council has got on-board with bus operators across the region to launch a marketing campaign aimed at promoting access to free travel.

The campaign, Free to Choose Bus, is a year-long initiative focusing on the range of benefits of bus travel, including the health and well-being, financial, environmental, and social advantages to travelling by bus.

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Led by SBC and Borders Buses other operators taking part include Houston’s, Peter Hogg and Telfords.

Megan Koszteyn, Kayla Riddell, Hannah Renwick, Henry and Adam Hoffman.Megan Koszteyn, Kayla Riddell, Hannah Renwick, Henry and Adam Hoffman.
Megan Koszteyn, Kayla Riddell, Hannah Renwick, Henry and Adam Hoffman.

The collaboration will see all those involved collectively promote free bus travel using a newly created marketing toolkit with images, videos, reels, posters and adverts.

In keeping the campaign real, local people – under 22 and over 60 – were enlisted to promote the many benefits of bus travel. This included children of some of the team at Borders Buses and parents of council officers.

With themes on being active, greener and more independent plus what to see and do, the campaign highlights the many great things young and older people can do in the Borders and further afield and footage with familiar spots and attractions across the region have been used to showcase the area.

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Councillor Jenny Linehan, SBC’s executive member for Environment & Transport, said: “We know that Covid-19 brought about a change in people’s habits and as a result of the various restrictions there was a significant drop in the number of people using buses. We are yet to see patronage numbers on our buses return to normal and our hope is that this campaign can encourage more people back.

Derek Taylor.Derek Taylor.
Derek Taylor.

“Public transport is a really cost-effective, environmentally friendly and convenient way for people of all ages to get about the Borders. This campaign has been designed to highlight the benefits of bus travel and encourage people back to using it more frequently whether that is to travel to work, socialise with friends or access amenities in towns and villages across the region.”

Derek Taylor, whose son Gordon is principal transport officer at Scottish Borders Council, said: “It’s a family affair to promote buses. Joking aside, I think it is brilliant we can travel free on buses across Scotland. I love to walk, and Borders Buses serves some fantastic walking routes including a few which are part of Scotland’s Great Trails.

“I look forward to seeing myself on the big screen and would encourage those folk over 60 who still don’t have their free bus pass to apply today, it saves money and gets you out and about more which is good for your general well-being and bank balance.”

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Megan Koszteyn, aged 14 from Clovenfords, said: “My friend Kirsty and I took part in the photo shoot and filming, it was good fun and we both look forward to seeing the videos and posters online and on the buses.

Borders Buses driver David Brown with some of the local models.Borders Buses driver David Brown with some of the local models.
Borders Buses driver David Brown with some of the local models.

“I’ve had my free bus pass for about a year now and it’s a great way to get and about with friends without having to rely on mum or dad to take me there.”

Sharon Morrison, communications director at Borders Buses, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Scottish Borders Council and the other local operators on this exciting new initiative.

“Bus plays an important role in the community and can be instrumental in reducing congestion by encouraging locals out of cars and onto bus. We hope the campaign highlights the many benefits bus travel brings to the areas we serve and would encourage those entitled to free bus travel to apply for their travel card.”

All details for those eligible for free bus travel visit

The Choose Bus promotional video can be viewed at