Train companies helping Britain back to work30/10/2012
Exeter, Canterbury and Liverpool are among the towns and cities where people are making the most of half-price rail travel to go the extra mile in their search for work, research by the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) has shown.
Jobseekers up and down the country are taking advantage of a 50% discount on rail travel to get to interviews and to take part in vocational training, under a scheme that is being extended by train companies this week.
The Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card, administered by Jobcentre Plus staff, is given to eligible unemployed people who are willing to travel further afield to find work or for training. The areas of the country where the most journeys per head of population are made using the discount card are:
• Exeter – 45.7 journeys per 1,000 of population (local unemployment rate of 6.5%)
• Gloucester – 39.7 journeys per 1,000 (8.5%)
• Canterbury – 33.5 journeys per 1,000 (6.9%)
• London – 28.3 journeys per 1,000 ( 9.2%)
• Liverpool – 23.0 journeys per 1,000 of population (11.2%)
• Oxford – 19.3 journeys per 1,000 of population (5.7%)
• Southampton – 13.1 journeys per 1,000 of population (7.9%)
• Hereford – 11.0 journeys per 1,000 of population (5.9%)
• St Albans – 10.7 journeys per 1,000 of population (4.5%)
• Manchester – 8.5 journeys per 1,000 of population (12.8%)
As of this week, a single, national discount card will be available to eligible people in England, Wales and Scotland who have been out of work for 13 weeks instead of the usual six months. It offers jobseekers a 50% discount on a variety of fares as they travel to interviews, to the Jobcentre or to and from training, for up to three months at a time.
In the last ten years, 6,500,000 rail journeys have been made using what is now called the Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card, saving jobseekers a total of £11.2 million. Currently, an average of 7,723 journeys are made each week using the card, and ATOC research shows that 36% of people say they would not have been able to attend interviews without the help of the card.*
Edward Welsh, Corporate Affairs Director at the Association of Train Operating Companies, said: “We don’t just get commuters into work and home again, or business travellers to meetings at the other end of the country. The railway also helps the unemployed to look for work further afield than their home town which is good for jobs and the economy.”
Neil Couling, Work Services Director at the Department for Work and Pensions, said: "The Jobcentre Plus Discount Card is a great resource for jobseekers, helping them with the cost of train travel so they can attend interviews and training. I am pleased to be working with ATOC to deliver this and that so many more people will be helped by the scheme."
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. Figures showing the areas home to the most determined jobseekers were established by comparing the number of journeys made using the discount card with the local population in each city/town.
2. All figures for unemployment refer to Office of National Statistics data published at www.nomisweb.co.uk.
3. Set up in 1998, the scheme is a voluntary agreement between ATOC, Transport for London and Jobcentre Plus. Jobcentre Plus offices issue the cards to eligible jobseekers, which are valid for up to three months at a time. The card now entitles holders to a 50% discount on Anytime, Off-Peak and Season tickets (up to three months) across the National Rail network, as well as London Area Travelcards and Oyster pay as you go (on participating train services). The card aims to help people in their search for employment, or to attend vocational training. This card now incorporates the separate scheme for jobseekers in Scotland making it a national discount card for the first time. Other local schemes are available through Transport for London and Passenger Transport Executives.
4. Research conducted by ATOC shows the areas where jobseekers make the highest number of journeys using the discount card. The following tables measure the total number of journeys made during 2011/12, but are not adjusted for population.
Top 10 areas for
JCP Travel Discount Card usage outside London (2011/12)
1 Worthing (8,722 journeys)
2 Caerphilly (5,069)
3 Brighton (3,954)
4 Port Sunlight, Wirral (3,215)
5 Guildford (2,920)
6 Royston (2,872)
7 Aldershot (2,712)
8 Watford (2,601)
9 Millom, Cumbria (2,207)
10 Purley (2,166)
Top five areas in London for
JCP Travel Discount Card usage (2011/12)
1 Romford (13,772 journeys)
2 Lewisham (12,750)
3 Barking (12,574)
4 Forest Hill (12,542)
5 Norbury (6,114)
* Research carried out on behalf of ATOC found that the savings the discount card offers has led to more people travelling by train.
More than four out of five respondents who had not travelled by rail for the previous six months regularly took the train having held the card, with 36% saying that they would not have been able to travel to a job interview at all had they not had the card.
A further 16% said they would not have been able to travel to their vocational training without the card.
The survey showed that 86% of those who had previously not travelled by rail in the last six months travelled by rail more often having had the card, with 24% travelling by rail weekly, while a further 38% travelled at least monthly.
The research also found that the people most likely to be travelling using the card were unemployed men and women aged between 16 and 25.
One search made every two seconds using rail app
HS2 Hybrid Bill & High Speed Rail (Preparation) Bill announced in Queen's Speech is "good news for passengers and the economy"
"Nine out of ten trains arrive without delay": train companies comment on Period 1 performance figures
Six million passenger journeys expected over bank holiday weekend
Bank holiday weekend top attractions offers by train revealed
"Record numbers of people with disabilities are travelling by train": ATOC