‘Ticket to thrive’

A new report from PTEG has revealed the ‘vital role of public transport’ in enabling people to find and sustain employment. It describes the bus as having a particularly role important role in this. Entitled ‘Ticket to Thrive: The role of urban public transport in tackling unemployment’, the study showed 77% of jobseekers in British cities outside London do not have regular access to a car, van or motorbike and can face significant transport barriers to work as a result. According to the research, people who have never worked or are long term unemployed are significantly less likely to make trips as a car driver or passenger or by rail but considerably more likely to use buses. Some 60% of urban jobseekers feel they would have less chance of finding a job without bus services. It also found more people commute to work by bus than by any other public transport mode and one in ten bus commuters would be forced to look for another job, or give up work altogether, if bus services disappeared.

The report identified a series of transport obstacles that can prevent people from accessing work: expensive public transport tickets; poorly connected employment sites (lower skilled vacancies in particular tend to be located outside of more profitable commuter bus routes and therefore less attractive to commercial bus operators); mismatches between working hours and available transport (public transport usually corresponds to nine-to-five working patterns, making shift work difficult); and limited travel horizons (jobseekers can lack trust in, and knowledge of, public transport options).

‘Ticket to Thrive’ recommends several key policy measures that would assist in overcoming the above barriers, including: a new funding deal to enable local councils to protect lifeline bus services and connect people to opportunities; more effective powers over bus services for local transport authorities, offering them greater control over where and when buses run and the affordability of fares; and a review potential for an adequately funded national jobseeker and apprentice travel concession.

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