New scheme aims to help unemployed persons and newly employed people get to work
Following the success of a trial scheme, Greater Manchester’s jobseekers are set to get a fare deal. Thanks to government funding, 24,000 tickets will be made available for unemployed people attending job interviews or persons settling into their new job. This will be effective till March 2015.
For job interviews, this will comprise of a free Any Bus Day Saver ticket (£5.60 maximum price at present). If successful, he or she will be entitled to a free 28 Day Bus Saver ticket or 28 Day Metrolink pass. For the next 12 weeks, travel to and from work will be discounted, possibly with the above passes going for children’s/young persons’ concessionary rates.
The four weeks free travel will come as a godsend for newly employed persons, particularly so with most employees paid on a calendar month basis. Transport for Greater Manchester’s scheme, in cooperation with Jobcentre Plus and System One Travelcards follows a successful trial in local job centres.
Cyclists wont be left out too: there will also be a ‘Bike Back to Work’ scheme. This will involve access to free recycled bicycles, cycle training and maintenance courses.
Councillor Andrew Fender, chairman of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee said, “The cost of travel can both make it difficult for people to find jobs – or get to them in the first few weeks of employment when money is tight.
“We hope that both these schemes will go some way to helping more people back in to work.
“Giving people recycled bikes and cycle training can set people up with a particularly healthy, low cost and practical way of getting to work – especially where shifts or location rule public transport out.”
Zach Fraser from Jobcentre Plus added: “Customers who have benefited from the support have told me just how big a help it has been to them.”
Richard Soper, chairman of Greater Manchester Travelcards Ltd (System One) said all bus operators in Greater Manchester were united in their support for the scheme.
He added: “Greater Manchester has great public transport and we need to make it as easy as possible for people to use it to get on the job ladder.”
There will also be regular travel surgeries in Jobcentre Plus offices throughout Greater Manchester. TfGM will be there to offer one-to-one travel advice and support to jobseekers.
If you’re looking for work yourself, or know somebody else who’s unemployed and living in the Greater Manchester area, there’s further information on TfGM’s website. Or you can ask your advisor at your local Jobcentre Plus in your next appointment.
• There has previously been travel concessions for unemployed persons in the past. Till now, none have had the same level of support as the New Deal candidates’ concessionary scheme on Stagecoach Manchester and First Manchester. Within months of the Coalition Government entering office, the Travel to Interview Scheme was phased out without outcry.
• Prior to the abolition of Greater Manchester County Council, Greater Manchester Transport looked at the idea of extending concessionary fares to unemployed persons.
S.V., 24 February 2014.