Anyone claiming Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit is eligible for a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card.
The card gives holders a 50% discount on journeys anywhere in Britain and is valid for 3-9 months for 18-24-year-olds, or 3-12 months for over 25s.
Applicants can get the cards by applying through their Work Coach and local Jobcentre Plus.
The rail industry is encouraging jobseekers to take advantage of the card as its take-up has dropped by over a third since the start of the pandemic.
Most journeys made using the card are in London and the South East, which accounts for 62% of the total journeys taken, which suggests that much of the country is missing out. During the pandemic, job-seeking cardholders travelling by rail made over £1.5m in savings.
Before the pandemic, over 1.1m journeys were made using the card, but dropped to 722,900 between March 2020 and October 2021.
Job vacancies now stand at a record high of 1.17m, and with the jobs market showing rapid signs of recovery, hundreds of thousands could benefit from savings in their rail travel costs.
The Rail Delivery Group, which represents Britain’s train companies, is taking steps to publicise the card. It is working with Jobcentre Plus teams to promote the card to their local areas, and also writing to politicians across Britain asking them for their support in raising awareness in their respective regions.
Although rail isn’t practical for all job seekers, some areas such as Wales and the North-East account for less than 1% of all discounted journeys made during the pandemic.
Jacqueline Starr, Chief Executive of Rail Delivery Group, said: “Over 700,000 journeys were made during the pandemic by people using the Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card but with the world of work opening back up and new opportunities becoming available, we want to encourage even more people to take advantage as they look to secure new jobs. The railway is a key part of Britain’s clean and fair recovery, and this discount card is yet another way that train companies are helping the country to bounce back.”
Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP said: “We’re committed to breaking down any barrier preventing jobseekers from accessing the vital training and employment opportunities they need to get back in work and back on track.
“Through our multi-billion pound Plan for Jobs and the Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card, we’re helping jobseekers across the country to cut costs and raise their job prospects as we push to build back better.”
Anna Ulewicz from Sutton used the Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card to get her career back on track.
After losing her job in the pandemic, she was looking for a fresh career start. Anna was always interested in teaching, and her Jobcentre Plus Work Coach Simi helped her get onto a teacher training course in Croydon, just a quick 20-minute train ride away from her home. The Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card helped make Anna’s commute affordable as it cut her travel cost in half, and directly contributed to her landing a new full-time role as a teacher.
Anna said: “Without the Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card, I wouldn’t have been able to attend the course or get my new job. The process of getting the card was super easy and I really appreciated the extra help to fund my travel costs. I’d encourage every jobseeker to speak to their Work Coach about it!”