Rail industry rallies to help jobseekers as new data shows minority of journeys are made outside of London and the South East

The rail industry and Jobcentre Plus are working together to promote the use of a half price rail discount card to get more people into work, as new research shows that only 28% of discounted journeys are made outside London and the South East.

All train operators in Britain offer the 50% discount for jobseekers who have the ‘Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card’, which job centres can give to those claiming Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit for between 13-39 weeks (18-24 year olds) or 13-52 weeks (25 and over). The new data shows that in the year to March 2018 there were 518,822 discounted journeys made by jobseekers.

The rail industry is working together with the Jobcentre Plus teams to further promote the railcard. The Rail Delivery Group is also writing to politicians across Britain asking them for support to raise awareness of the discount card to increase uptake and help people into work.

The efforts are part of the roll-out of the partnership railway’s long-term plan to change and improve. The discount card demonstrates the rail industry’s commitment to strengthening local communities. As set out in the plan, In Partnership for Britain’s Prosperity, rail companies are also committed to boosting communities through localised decision making and investment, including £54m to enhance almost 180 stations in the next two years.

An increased focus will be on those seeking work outside of London and the South East as new analysis of data shows that people in other parts of the country are making least use of the card – accounting for just over a quarter (28%) of all journeys taken using the card. There is the potential for thousands of jobseekers to use the card and help them into work.

Table 1 - Regional breakdown of passenger journeys made using the discount card (5 March 2017 to 3 March 2018)

Region Passenger journeys
East 44,716
East Midlands 5,250
London 288,572
North East 1,947
North West 17,772
Scotland 35,358
South East 85,524
South West 5,689
Wales 4,545
West Midlands 20,550
Yorkshire and the Humber 8,899
Total 518,822


Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which brings together train companies and Network Rail to enable a better railway, said:

“Getting more people into work is part of our long-term plan to support and strengthen communities. The partnership railway is committed to spreading economic prosperity across the country. Over half a million discounted journeys were made in the last year but we want to make sure that everyone who is entitled to discounted journeys, in all parts of the country, knows about the discounts available.”

Andrew, a young man from the Bristol area, was finding it difficult to pay to travel to job interviews and applied for the Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card. He starts a new job next month. Andrew said:

“Travelling to interviews is nerve-wracking, especially as I have to be careful with money. The discount card has been a big help and without it I wouldn’t have been able to afford to go to the second interview for the job I’ll be starting next month.”

Donna Lawson, Catch22 Head of Employability said:

"The discounted rail card for jobseekers is a fantastic resource. Expensive travel is a real barrier for jobseekers, it can mean forcing an individual to choose between a £10-£20 ticket to get to an interview or food for the week. The Rail Delivery Group's drive to promote the rail card is a great step toward ensuring that all individuals are aware of and are given the support they need as they transition in to work.”

Minister for Employment, Alok Sharma has said:

"Our dedicated Jobcentre Plus work coaches are supporting thousands of people into work across all nations and regions of Britain – contributing to record high employment levels. As people look for new jobs, the Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card makes it easier for jobseekers to secure opportunities. Also, through the Flexible Support Fund claimants may be eligible for further support to cover their travel costs to and from interviews.”


Notes to editors

  1. About Britain’s Partnership Railway:
    Working together, the partnership railway of the public and private sectors has published a long-term plan, called In Partnership for Britain’s Prosperity, to change and improve Britain’s railway. The plan will secure almost £85bn of additional economic benefits to the country and contains four commitments which will see rail companies: strengthen our economic contribution to the country; improve customers’ satisfaction; boost the communities we serve; and, create more and better jobs in rail. For more information go to Britain Runs on Rail.
  2. About the Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card:
    The card provides discounts of 50% on Anytime Day tickets, Off Peak Day tickets, and Season tickets up to three months in duration. The card is valid on all British train operator services and can be used to purchase tickets online, including National Rail Enquiries, at ticket machines and ticket offices.
  3. Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card - full eligibility:
    To be eligible for the discount card, one of the following criteria must be satisfied:
    • Claiming Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit AND are aged 18-24 and have been unemployed for 13-39 weeks
    • Claiming Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit AND are 25 or over and have been unemployed for 13-52 weeks
    • Claiming Incapacity Benefit, Employment & Support Allowance or Income Support AND are actively engaged with an advisor in returning to employment
  4. Journey data:
    We hold information about the number of passenger journeys made using the discount card from between 5 March 2017 and 3 March 2018. Please enquire for sub-regional data.


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