It is maybe not that well known, but has anybody ever taken up a Jobcentre Plus travel card? If you have, did you know about them, or were you made aware? Please comment below.
These were introduced a few years back and are apparently much underused. Online forums report that Jobcentre staff seem to be unaware or refer to these cards as “London Based” .
The UK Government Website states :
“Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card:
This is provided to those unemployed claiming Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit for 3-9 months (18-24 year olds) or 3-12 months (over 25s). Other benefit recipients may receive a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card from 3 months of their claim and if they are actively engaged with a Jobcentre Plus adviser. Cardholders are entitled to a 50% discount on selected rail tickets.
Flexible support fund:
May be used at the discretion of Jobcentre Plus staff to help with the cost of travelling to an interview, training or for the first months of travelling to work.“
At the Government website there appears to be no specific location, transport zone, region or nation, that these cards are specifically valid for, and on reading the conditions, I would be left thinking that this is indeed a National Scheme.
Stagecoach Buses specifically the No 35 today, ( 13/04/2016) had an advert on it, which seemed very recent and encouraged use of this discount card.
“Simply show your Jobcentre Plus travel card to the driver when you buy a single or return ticket. You may also be asked to show your travel card during your journey. You’ll get 50% off the full ticket price to the nearest 5p. You can apply for a Jobcentre Plus travel card if you claim:
- Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) or
- Incapacity Benefit or
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or
- Income Support
- you’re 18 and over
- you’ve been unemployed between three months and one year
- a Jobcentre Plus Advisor is helping you to find work
- You’ll need to apply for a Jobcentre Plus travel card at your local Jobcentre Plus office.
You can use your Jobcentre Plus travel card for most single and return journeys.
You won’t be able to use your travel pass on Megabus or Citylink services. A few local services may be excluded and some areas don’t accept passes for return journeys.
Contact your local Stagecoach office for more information. Their website and advert referred to this scheme as “Back on Board”.
I have asked Stagecoach Aberdeen to confirm if the scheme is still valid. They simply replied; “To get one of these cards, our customers have to get in touch with the job centre and they arrange it all.”
Stagecoach also state on their website from a news release on 1 March 2016;
“Stagecoach also previously launched the country’s first long-term nationwide discount for jobseekers, giving those with a JobCentre Plus travel card a 50% discount on their bus travel to help them find employment. The offer has been taken up by over 350,000 job seekers since it was launched in 2012. The scheme is funded entirely on a commercial basis by Stagecoach without any public sector support”.
However, I did find this reference in a Scottish Government paper :
“‘Action Fund’ – A discretionary fund to pay for one-off support to address individual barriers to re-employment linked to specific job offers. e.g. tools, travel costs etc.”
I received this explanation from an official at the DWP Scotland:
“JCP ( Jobcentre Plus ) continues to work in partnership with National Transport Providers to offer discounted travel options.
In Scotland we have agreements in place with Abellio ScotRail, Stagecoach and First Group for discounted travel. All of these initiatives utilise the discretionary Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card (JCP TDC) where recipients are actively engaged in seeking employment. The JCP TDC is still in operation and has been in place since 2012.
Many customers in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)/ Employment Support Allowance (ESA) are eligible but they must be actively working with a JCP Work Coach to move towards employment. The eligibility you quote is still in place.
Universal Credit claimants are also eligible for discounts if they meet the criteria.
In Scotland we have unique access to the JCP TDC for Work Programme participants which are not available in the rest of the UK. (2 periods of 13 weeks in 12 months)
All JCP Work Coaches have access to guidance and instructions on the National Scheme and the bespoke Scottish support from First Group and Abellio ScotRail (additional to normal 50% offer).
Claimants need to seek information from their JCP Work Coach about the support and a decision would then be made as to eligibility. JCP TDC is not an automatic entitlement and as mentioned above is at the JCP Work Coaches discretion. ”
In all cases it would appear that application for this discount card is only through Jobcentre Plus.