Bus operators have come together to offer free bus travel to 800,000 jobseekers in January. It could help some to make a new start, but it’s also a new start for buses

More than 800,000 unemployed jobseekers will be granted free bus journeys across the country in January as part of a new industry initiative, Bus for Jobs.

Under the umbrella of the industry-backed Greener Journeys campaign, the UK’s major bus groups have brokered a deal to enable jobseekers, especially the young, to use their routes free of charge for a month.

The deal is the first of its kind and will cover over 70% of bus routes in England, Scotland and Wales. Transport minister Norman Baker, who has been putting pressure on bus operators to rethink the fare deals they offer to young people, hopes that it may mark the start of something new for buses. Welcoming the free travel offer this week, he said: “I look forward to seeing other offers in the future.”

Baker continued: “This move will benefit the industry as well as job seekers as young people are not only a key section of the market – they are the future of the local bus industry.”

Britain’s ‘big five’ bus groups – Arriva, First, Go Ahead, National Express, Stagecoach – have all signed up to offer the discount. They are joined by others including Blackpool Transport, Kinchbus, Cardiff Bus, Network Warrington and Trent Barton.

“In difficult economic times, this new scheme from Greener Journeys will provide a helpful start to the New Year, enabling job hunters to travel around more easily in search of employment,” commented Claire Haigh, chief executive of Greener Journeys.

 

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