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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Half-price bus travel for Cumbrian job hunters

Cumbria's biggest bus operator Stagecoach is offering half-price travel to job hunters.

Holders of a JobCentre Plus Travel Discount Card qualify for half-price single and return tickets on Stagecoach’s 6,500 buses in the UK outside London.

The scheme is funded entirely on a commercial basis by Stagecoach without any public sector-support.

It will run for a six-month trial period but could become a permanent discount.

Announcing the scheme Sir Brian Souter, chief executive at Stagecoach, said: “Youth unemployment is one of the biggest issues facing our country today and we know the bus is Britain's most important mode of public transport.

“Stagecoach already offers the lowest bus fares of any major operator in the country, making public transport affordable for those on low incomes.

“We hope this initiative can help kick-start the careers for those who are struggling to get that first job or training place.”

JobCentre Plus Travel Discount Cards are available through JobCentre Plus.

Those eligible 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.

More than 800,000 people qualify for the card.

Stagecoach offered free travel to job hunters in Cumbria throughout January as part of a national BusforJobs initiative that aimed to help thousands of job hunters find work.

Free travel was available to those over 18 who had been unemployed for more than three months.

The idea was to get them to job interviews without having to worry about the cost of fares.

The latest unemployment figures for Cumbria showed a sharp rise, although this is normally the case in January with the shake out of seasonal jobs in food production and retailing after Christmas.

There were 8,982 people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance, 544 more than in December.

The county’s unemployment rate is 2.9 per cent.

Allerdale had 2,032 dole claimants, Carlisle 2,223, Copeland 1,576 and Eden 408.


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