Unemployed across the UK to get free bus in attempt to boost work prospects
Over 800,000 unemployed Britons are to benefit from a scheme offering free travel on over 70% of the UK’s bus routes in a bid to help them in finding employment.
There will be free bus travel in January for those who have been unemployed for between three months and a year and have registered for the Jobcentre travel card, which already gives 50% off public transport costs.
The scheme will be started with the intention of further extension into a longer-term set-up if feedback is encouraging.
The move was co-ordinated by the campaign group Greener Journeys, which released statistics showing that over half of those households where all adults are unemployed do not have access to a car.
The problem of affording public transport in the hunt for a job was highlighted in July by Labour MP David Miliband, who said: “No one talks about it, but it’s a massive problem. Look, it’s 17 quid to get from Hastings to Brighton. How many interviews do you have to go to before you get a job?”
Although the unemployment rate in Britain has dropped despite the lack of economic growth, experts are warning that this is owed in part to the number of people looking for full-time work but settling for part time employment.
The hope is that this scheme – which travel companies Arriva, First, Go-Ahead, National Express and Stagecoach have all signed up to – will make it easier for those out of work to find jobs at the beginning of the new year by reducing the stress of making it to interviews.
Chief Executive of Greener Journeys, Claire Haigh, summed up the intention of the scheme, saying: “In difficult economic times, this new scheme will provide a helpful start to the new year, enabling job hunters to travel around more easily in search of employment, to job interviews with prospective employers, and to training courses which will help them find work.”