Thousands of people across the north east have benefitted from a pioneering national Stagecoach scheme which provides jobseekers with discounted bus travel.
The Back on Board scheme offers holders of a Jobcentreplus Travel Discount Card half-price single and return ticket on Stagecoach North East’s 485 regional buses to help them find employment.
The Stagecoach scheme was the first of its kind in the country when it was launched in 2013 and over 13,600 passenger journeys across South Shields, Newcastle, Sunderland, Teesside and Hartlepool have been made via the initiative since its introduction.
The local bus operator also supports several projects designed to help young people get ready for the world of work, including mentoring, work experience, paid internships, employability masterclasses and workplace visits.
Buses are a major contributor to regional economies, helping connect people to jobs, leisure and the High Street as well as to education and training, as Steve Walker, Stagecoach North East Managing Director, explains: “We know buses are crucial in connecting people with employment and that is why we work hard to keep the cost of bus travel as low as possible.
“Our Back on Board scheme is part of our wider action at Stagecoach North East to help connect young people with jobs and build their skills to make them ready for the workplace. We are delighted that so many people in our region have benefitted from the scheme and we hope it has helped many of our customers secure employment or training.
“Buses are essential to the north east economy, providing vital links for millions of people every week. We will continue to offer this benefit as well as focusing on delivering good value travel for all of our customers.”
Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Cards are available to those who are claiming Jobseekers Allowance, are aged 18-24 and have been unemployed for six to nine months; those who are claiming Jobseekers Allowance who are 25 or over and have been unemployed for six to 12 months and people claiming Incapacity Benefit, Employment and Support Allowance or Income Support: if actively engaged with an adviser in returning to employment. Applications for a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card can be made a local Jobcentre Plus branches.