More than 800,000 unemployed jobseekers will be granted free bus journeys across the country in January as part of a new industry initiative, Bus for Jobs.
Greener Journeys – the campaign to promote sustainable travel – has forged a deal with the UK’s leading bus companies to enable jobseekers, especially the young, to use their routes free of charge for a month.
The distinctive deal – which will cover over 70 per cent of the nation’s bus routes - will give a helping hand to people who are actively hunting for work or training. Bus travel is the most popular mode of transport used by Britain’s commuters, with 5.2 billion bus journeys in the UK each year.
In Scotland, First, National Express and Stagecoach have agreed to support the joint initiative that will provide tangible help for people who are actively seeking work or taking part in training.
The Bus for Jobs scheme will provide free travel on the bus services of participating companies for the month of January and jobseekers who have been unemployed for between three months and one year will be eligible, although the scheme is particularly targeted at young people for whom unemployment rates remain high. Latest government figures show the offer will be available to as many as 817,000 people who are currently out of work and claiming benefits.
The scheme will cover holders of a JobCentre Plus Travel Discount Card. Those who are eligible for the card, which is available through JobCentre Plus, include people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, Employment and Support Allowance or Income Support and actively engaged with a Jobcentre Plus adviser in returning to employment. It is being publicised locally by the participating bus companies. Jobcentre Plus staff are actively promoting it to those looking for work and full details of the scheme are available on a specially created website: www.busforus.co.uk.
Claire Haigh, Chief Executive of Greener Journeys commented: “This scheme will help get people on the move and into work or training. Our research shows that bus travel makes a massive contribution to UK Plc; and reliable, affordable, and accessible bus routes can help to boost economic growth.