Jobseekers to get free bus travel for month


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The Independent Online

For one month only, finding a job will be made a little bit easier because of a unique deal struck with Britain's bus operators. Companies which between them operate 70 per cent of the country's bus routes have agreed to allow jobseekers to travel free in January as long as they produce a Jobcentre Plus travel card.

Arriva, First, Go-Ahead, National Express, Stagecoach and several smaller operators, including Blackpool Transport, Kinchbus, Cardiff Bus, Network Warrington and Trent Barton, have agreed to take part in the scheme, organised by Greener Journeys. Anyone unemployed for between three months and a year will qualify, but organisers say they are particularly targeting the young unemployed. In all, about 817,000 people will be eligible.

The move reflects an anxiety among bus operators that when ministers plan transport policies, buses are given less attention than other forms of transport.

Norman Baker, the Transport Minister, said: "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."

Sir Brian Souter, the chief executive of Stagecoach Group, said: "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."