Discounted travel for job seekers

PUBLISHED: 10:25 29 April 2014 | UPDATED: 10:26 29 April 2014

Have your say on fare prices.

Have your say on fare prices.

Archant

THERE’S good news for Exmouth’s job seekers as details of two schemes to help them travel to Exeter job centre to sign on have emerged.

There’s a 50 per cent discount on bus fares from Stagecoach South West.

And a good Samaritan has offered free transport to Exeter for some of the town’s job seekers on their signing-on day.

The current return fares to Exeter are £7.20 (bus, due to rise at the end of the month), £5.70 (train, peak) and £4.10 (train, off-peak). Job seekers receive no reimbursement from the job centre for their fares.

Stagecoach’s ‘Back On Board’ scheme for job seekers reduces the current bus fare by 50 per cent to £3.60.

But curiously the scheme – which has been running since March 4, 2013 – is only just being recommended to claimants by advisers at Exeter’s job centre.

If the scheme had been offered to them earlier, it’s possible that the town’s job seekers could have had help with their travel costs more than a year ago.

The Journal has asked the Department for Work and Pensions to comment on why Exmouth’s jobseekers have only just been made aware of the scheme, but is still waiting a reply.

News of the discounted bus fares has been greeted with delight by Exmouth’s Open Door Centre and Exmouth’s Glenorchy Work Club.

Neither organisation – the first point of call for many of the town’s job seekers – knew that the discount existed.

“This is good news!” said Helen Burgess, the Open Door Centre’s manager. “A 50 per cent reduction in travel costs will make a real difference to a lot of people. However, it should be noted that there will still be some who don’t have any money and so a reduction in fares will not stop them from having to walk into Exeter.”

‘Back On Board’ offers a 50 per cent discount on Stagecoach single and return fares for qualifying job seekers, holding a valid Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card.

The card is available through Jobcentre Plus offices.

To apply, you have to be 18 or older, unemployed for between three months and one year, claiming jobseekers’ allowance or incapacity benefit, or employment and support allowance or income support, and have a Jobcentre Plus adviser helping you to find work.

More details: /www.stagecoachbus.com/bkonboard.aspx

Meanwhile, a good Samaritan – who doesn’t wish to be named – could soon be helping out some of the town’s job seekers by giving them free lifts from Exmouth to Exeter’s job centre.

Exmouth’s Glenorchy Work Club is currently looking into the offer and hopes to finalise details soon. The free lifts could help as many as 16 job seekers.


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