Stagecoach backs ‘Bus for Jobs’ initiative

10 December 2012  •  Source: Stagecoach

Stagecoach is backing a new ‘Bus for Jobs’ initiative to help hundreds of thousands of jobseekers across the UK find employment by giving the free bus travel in the New Year.

The scheme – organised by the Greener Journeys sustainable travel campaign and also supported by other major bus operators – will enable jobseekers, especially the young, to use their routes free of charge for a month in January 2013.

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. The ‘Bus for Jobs’ deal will cover over 70 per cent of the nation’s bus routes, providing practical help for people who are actively seeking work or taking part in training.

Sir Brian Souter, Chief Executive of Stagecoach Group, said: “The bus is Britain’s most important mode of public transport. It is how millions of people across the UK access employment, education and training every day.

“Bus for Jobs could make the vital difference for those who are struggling to get that first job or training place. In particular, I hope we can help more of our young people make a better start in life.”

Transport Minister Norman Baker said: “Good bus services play a huge role in boosting economic growth by helping people to access employment and training opportunities. I have been encouraging bus operators to look at the fare deals they can offer to young people looking for work, so I congratulate the operators that are doing so in January and look forward to seeing other offers in the future.

“This move will benefit the industry as well as job seekers as young people are not only a key section of the market – they are the future of the local bus industry.”

Latest government figures show the free bus travel offer will be available to as many as 817,000 people who are currently out of work and claiming benefits.

The ‘Bus for Jobs’ scheme will be available to jobseekers who have been unemployed for between three months and one year. It is particularly targeted at young people for whom unemployment rates remain high.

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.

At present, the travel discount card allows users to save up to 50 per cent on train journeys, and on public transport in London. From January 1, card holders will be able to travel free on many buses around the country.

‘Bus for Jobs’ is being financed and publicised locally by the participating bus companies. Jobcentre Plus staff are actively promoting it to those looking for work. Further details about the scheme are on a specially created website: www.busforus.co.uk. Information about Stagecoach routes covered is available at http://www.stagecoachbus.com/busforjobs.aspx.

In Britain, the bus is a big contributor to the success of SME’s and local businesses, as well as large organisations. Bus travel can connect people to jobs, leisure and the High Street and to education and training. Greener Journeys hopes this new scheme to help people into work will remind UK businesses and politicians the importance of reliable bus travel to many commuters.

Claire Haigh, Chief Executive of Greener Journeys, said: “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.

“In difficult economic times, this new scheme from Greener Journeys 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.

“This scheme will give people looking for employment access to free bus travel for one month. This will help many of them secure their first job, or a place on a relevant training course.

“The number of bus travellers continues to grow in the UK, and over 5.2 billion bus journeys were taken by Britons in the past year. More people commute to work by bus than all other public transport combined and bus commuters already generate over £64 billion of economic output.”

Neil Couling, Work Services Director at the Department of Work and Pensions, said: “I welcome this initiative, which will support thousands of jobseekers by removing the cost of travel. This scheme is a really positive way to start the New Year for those looking for work, and I am pleased that so many people will benefit from the scheme.”

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