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19 Oct 2017
Thousands of people in Scotland have benefitted from a pioneering 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 tickets on Stagecoach’s 7,000 regional buses in the UK to help them find employment.
In Scotland, around 80,000 passenger journeys have been made via the initiative since its introduction, with more than 15,000 journeys made in the past year. The Stagecoach scheme was the first of its kind in the country when it was launched in 2013.
Official figures last month showed that there are 106,000 people over the age of 16 unemployed in Scotland. A recent study, by business consultancy EY, also revealed that, while Scottish youth unemployment has decreased over the past four years, 14.3% of young people aged 16-24 in Scotland were unemployed last year.
Stagecoach is a supporter of the Scottish Government's Developing Our Young Workforce initiative which is designed to cut youth unemployment by 40% by 2021. The transport operator also takes part in several projects designed to help young people get ready for the world of work, including through mentoring, work experience, paid internships, employability masterclasses and workplace visits.
Around 30% of households in Scotland do not have access to a car and are completely reliant on the bus and other modes of transport for many of their essential journeys. 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.
Stagecoach Scotland Managing Director Robert Andrew said: “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 to help connect young people with jobs and build their skills to make them ready for the workplace. We’re delighted that so many people in Scotland have benefitted from the scheme and we hope it has helped many of our customers secure employment or training.
“Buses are essential to the Scottish 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 Card 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.