ScotRail, the primary rail operator in Scotland, has agreed to introduce the Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount card onto its network from 1 April 2012. Eligible Jobcentre Plus claimants will be able to obtain a 50% discount on rail travel on ScotRail services within Scotland.
ScotRail will adopt the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) eligibility rules. In addition, as a result of ScotRail’s more generous funding agreement, claimants in Scotland will be able to access discounts earlier - after three months unemployment - and will be able to retain the card when participating in the Work Programme. Claimants in England and Wales have to wait six months before becoming eligible.
These concessions from the standard scheme give significant extra help to jobseekers in Scotland.
The formal Memorandum of Understanding between Scotrail and Jobcentre Plus was signed at Dundee railway station, prior to the National Convention on Youth Employment in Dundee on 15 March 2012.
Jobcentre Plus provides the administration and funding of the cards and application forms. The card is issued to claimants at advisers’ discretion to support return to work, job interviews and training.
Steve Montgomery, the managing director of ScotRail said: “ We are happy to support this initiative because it reduces the financial burden on people who are looking for work.”
The Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore said: “This is an excellent and generous ScotRail initiative which will give practical support to those looking for work. We need to do all we can to help people into employment and discounted rail travel will make it easier to attend interviews and seek out opportunities.”
Richard Cornish, DWP Work Services Director in Scotland, said: “I’m delighted we’ve reached this agreement between Jobcentre Plus in Scotland and Scotrail which will enable claimants in Scotland to widen their jobsearch by reducing the cost of rail travel.”