More on the Travel Discount Card Which Most Unemployed Cannot Get.

Crossposted from stevenplrose.

Have you seen this card before? I’d be very surprised if you had because the DWP have made almost no effort to tell you it exists.  You are able to claim if you have been unemployed for six months or more without referral to the catastrophic work programme (9 months for 18-24 year olds and 12 months for over 25s). It also extends to those claiming incapacity benefit, ESA or income support (provided you are found fit for work). In November last year, the New Deal railcard was quietly re-named the Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card.

This lovely piece of green plastic entitles you to 50% Off Anytime Day and Off-Peak Day tickets (including Off-Peak Day Travelcards for travel starting outside London Zones 1-9).  Including weekly, monthly and longer period Season Tickets and Travelcards (up to 3 months in length)

You can link it to your Oyster Card and get the same amount off (PAYG) fares in zones 1-6. Brilliant! Where do I sign up? You simply visit your local Job Centre Plus, assuming of course that staff will know of this scheme. My personal adviser certainly did not.

One of the many stipulations for claiming JSA involves you searching for work with ninety minutes of your home.  Within this three-month gap, I had interviews that proved rather expensive in places like Poole and London. Whilst I had a 16-25 railcard, I could have saved more had I been made aware I was eligible for it.

I challenge you to visit your local job centre, ask a member of staff, and find a leaflet inside that explains this scheme. There was never anything in my local centre. Maybe I looked in the wrong direction or asked the wrong question. Should we be expected to know this? I fear many like me now on the work programme (or yet to be referred) do not know about this card.

It was recently announced that some of the biggest bus companies (Arriva, First, Go-Ahead, National Express and Stagecoach) and some local operators will offer free bus fare to the unemployed.  This scheme will cover 70% of the country. However, according to this Stagecoach press release, you need to fall within the remit of the discount card to apply. Therefore, those, like me, on the work programme, once again miss discounted travel.  

Comment: There are signs that the Community Action Programme is in difficulty.

But it’s still officially going ahead.

We wonder if there is any scheme for those forced to work for nothing to get travel expenses back.

45 thoughts on “More on the Travel Discount Card Which Most Unemployed Cannot Get.

  1. They told me that it doesn’t exist in mine, and hasn’t for years (since the New Deal) and the only thing I could find online was for those who live in London.

    Pretty worthless scheme if it only supports Londoners in that brief time frame. My work programme provider likes to claim that they aren’t responsible for any interview costs now contrary to this:

    I was told I wouldn’t be disadvantaged by being on the work programme versus the youth contract. What a joke.

    • The Work Programme Provider have to cover your travel costs to any appointment with them, this is usually a bus ticket known in my neck of the woods as a First Day ticket or Day Rider ticket and costs £3.60p for which you can ride all day on any bus service within the boundary of my city.

      • Sure but if you’ve already paid for your bus ticket to sign on, why should the WP pay an additional fare?

  2. I remember back in the 80’s they used to have something similar called a Jobseekers bus travel card – it was red and allowed you to travel half price of a regular fare anywhere within your reigon not just within the city limits.

    • Yea I Remember It Too:- In London we had 6 Bus Zones. In The Outer Area Zone 6 You Could Travel For 10p Into Zone 5 etc and another 10 was added

    • Back in the 80s or whenever Blunkett was leader of Sheffield City Council (how things change) South Yorkshire Transport operated FREE buses i.e you could travel within Sheffield for FREE, on say the famous “City Clipper”. If you wanted to travel further afield the maximum return fare was 2p. You could travel from Sheffield to Barnsley for 2p :-) Those were the days :-)

      • I remember this.

        Visiting Sheffield was a joy because you could get on and off a bus as easy as walking.

    • And there was lots and lots of buses too, there were so many buses you would almost have the bus to yourself at times :-) , think there was a bus from me front door every minute all day :-) Excellent, reliable service and all for FREE!!

  3. lol. I used to send clients down to the jobcentre to ask for one with a printout of the DirectGov page about it because none of the staff knew a thing. Unfortunately they changed the rules at some point so that clients who had been referred to providers were ineligible – just another sly money saver I guess. Of course if it doesn’t cover peak travel it’s worthless once you actually get a job when it would be the most help. Perverse bastards.

  4. Work Programme – frequently ask questions

    Q. Can I get help with travel costs?

    A. Individuals attending Work Programme should not be worse off by virtue of attending the provision.

    When the customer attends either an interview with the Provider, a job interview arranged by the provider or undertakes other work related activities, the provider is responsible for funding the customers travel costs.

    The customer is responsible for meeting their travel costs for attending Fortnightly Job reviews with Jobcentre Plus.

    • The Work Programme – as I see it – is a form of punishment for the long-term unemployed, so giving those people taking part free travel cards probably seems to be one incentive too many. We are only entitled to the cost of travelling to and from our WP provision, and doleing out travel passes that can be used at any time would make our lives easier away from the strictures of the WP, and would probably be seen by some as an “incentive” to remain unemployed…

  5. @Obi Wan

    Do the WP Guidlines you quoted constitute any form of legal liability for travel expenses by a provider?

    I’m over £200 out of pocket thanks to Ingeus who refused to cover costs to enable me to complete an 8 week placement that led to me signing-off.

    I’m still stuck in their complaints process after 7 months of banging my head against their wall. I’ve got original ticket reciepts, proof of attendance, email communications between myself and Ingeus, and host company, yet Ingeus refuse flat-out that they have any obligation whatsoever.

    • Gil:

      Give them 10 seconds with me and your advisor would be out on their respetive ass in Bradford, we take no prisoners here! Our local MP would crucify them for that, our WP Providers have been told to tow the legal line or else!

      • I’m only just ‘over the hill’ from Bradford..
        Help me Obi Wan, you’re my only hope

        (sorry couldn’t resist..)

      • @ Obi Wan

        Are you on the Unemployed Movement or CAG blogsites? I’d greatly appreciate the chance to discuss what you just mentioned about your Bradford campaign – I’m only over the way in Kirklees.


      • Gil:

        I’m not with any unemployed movement, I’m just your average resistance fighter that looks into any and all government documents that are released in connection with the unemployed.

        If you look hard enough you’ll find everything you need on this website and Johnny Void’s website to which I and alot of other people make invaluable contributions on.

  6. my experience of this card is that they knew about it but wouldn’t provide one through the excuse it was only for travel to interviews in london,there was no problems with the earlier new deal card.their trying to cost save putting up barriers’.

    on another note regarding universal jobsearch from the c4 website.

    “The PCS union has claimed that managers are putting pressure on staff to “misrepresent the mandatory nature of signing up to the new service”.

  7. My WP sub(also known as the Council) capped travel costs at £3.30,the actual cost is £4.40 I brought in the DWP guidelines stating that the”Client shall not be worse off” for travel expenses and they paid me the difference,I have now asked for a refund of all travel costs(the difference) for myself and all the Clients….Pissed off,you betcha ya..Cost £71000.00 and rising!

  8. If ESA but ‘support group’, most disabled people can’t GET Disabled Persons Railcard.
    I’m on JSA and still trying to get railcard and coachcard. If somebody says ‘you are not disabled’, being kicked off benefits could be an excuse to take your railcard etc. I have a disability pass for buses.
    Last month our WPP was too broke to pay the ablebodied other ‘clients’ any travel refunds!

  9. Reblogged this on A Riverside View and commented:
    If you’ve been unemployed for six months or more go and ask about this at your local Job Centre plus and report back to us what the response was.

    Another stupid thing is that you have to be unemployed for six months before you get any help. Six months is usually around the time apathy kicks in.

  10. ITS A CON

    • I have a problem…I am on JSA I have just started the work programme. I have health issues regarding asthma and heart murmur. I am also waiting for an operation that will leave incapacitated in mobility of my right arm for two months. Jobcentre say I can’t get ESA WPP says I must look for work and ”go sick” once I start work

  11. The girl in the picture doesn’t look all that happy, it just occurred to me. Probably because they are halfway through zombifying her and they’ve got her doing workfare shelf stacking on 12 hour shifts at Poundless (in other words she can’t afford to shop there herself). The only toilet break she gets is being dragged into a broom cupboard by a League of Gentlemen style boss who demands she fill a jamjar in front of him… as he’s thirsty. She then has to walk home four miles, grab her regulation 29 minutes’ sleep, then get up and walk 4 miles and start her next shift. Occasionally being quizzed on how well workfare is working, with no option to state that she hates it. All while test driving a consignment of live scorpions in her bum… an extra feature added to the workfare scheme when a tory was snorting a mixture of Harpic and peyote.
    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas will look like a teddy bears’ tea party soon, if the maniacs in charge of workfare have their way.
    After about 6 days awake, and without any drugs being in your system, you start to see stuff crawling out of the walls and out of people. Maybe one of us in sleep-deprived states might hallucinate enough of these clearly random/fictional bugs, to be standing in proximity to a tory when the hallucinations encourage us to act, and to permanently reverse said tory’s vital status. (In the case of the many top tories for whom breathing is not required, then they can be staked with supplies from a garden or hardware store.)

  12. “(In the case of the many top tories for whom breathing is not required, then they can be staked with supplies from a garden or hardware store.)”
    Where can I get one? I have discovered a use for one – I need a scarecrow for t’allotment.

  13. just got a Jobcentreplus travelcard. you have to be unemployed for over 3 months to get one, and im not sure what happens after 6-12 months (depending on age), but they dont state they will give you one after this.just take some passport photos down jobcentre and they should be able to give you one if in this category.

  14. It’s taken me months to actually get them to concede this scheme does exist. I even know who at my local JCP has the pad of forms in her desk. Now I just have to fight with some incompetent useless “advisor” to let me have one. That’s not even a requirement, they just make things up as they go along because they don’t WANT to give these out as it literally costs them money. The problem is that each JCP gets a certain amount of funding, and every penny they spend comes out of that, including salaries, supplies, operational costs, etc. The staff can’t even print of make photocopies of things they need because it costs 7p a copy. So this card, will cost the JCP money and so they will lie, cheat, and do ANYTHING to not give you one! But if you actually take a copy of the regulations and a sample of the paper form with you, they will all of a sudden “remember” what you’re asking about. You still won’t likely get it, but at least they’ll be forced to think of a reason WHY you can’t have it. And this can be challenged. So good luck.

  15. I got one but then I had a fab DEA. It only lasts for 3 months, trying to find out if it can be renewed. I got it as I crossed over to the Work Programme. Fortunately Im currently back on ESA but under the assessment phase.

  16. I have been able to obtain the Job Centre Travel Card but only after I had finished on the Work Programme and took in a print off from the Transport for London Website. I was also able to get a renewal of the first card when it expired. The pass includes discounts on British Rail Tickets in England and Wales including the London Underground and Stagecoach bus fares, nationwide but the drivers can find it hard to find sometimes!

  17. I recently heard of this pass being given a trial run in Scotland. It has been extended to those on the Work Programme of which I am one. I went to my local job centre yesterday (Govan job centre plus, Glasgow ) and asked about it, knowing I was eligible according to The First Bus website. I sat down with an adviser and was asked if I had any interviews set up. I said I didn’t and wasn’t aware that I had to have an interview to apply for the pass. I feel like I have been lied to. Knowing my local job centre as I do nothing would surprise me about the underhand methods, lack of transparency and utter contempt for their clients. Wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience?

  18. I notice it’s only for 3 months. If you’re still unemployed after it expires, is there any chanca of renewing it?

    • The pass can be renewed after the first three months with two new photographs. I have done this a few times.

  19. hi there i have been unemployed for a year today.
    after 6 months being unemployed i got the travelcard discount for 6 months(x2 3 mths). I can not find info anywhere on how many you are allowed. I am in London and i know my particular jobcentre is stretched for money as it serves a large population.
    I was told yesterday i could not get a new one and only two were allowed. I had an interview the same day that required train travel and they said they could only give me a bus and tram discount card. This is useless to me. In two weeks i will be referred to work programme and job centre apart from signing on not be responsible for any further funding of me.
    I find the whole system very very inadequate and frustrating.
    Not only will they not give me another discount pass that covers trains. But (and this is just before i have a job interview) they proceeded to tell me how i would only receive JSA up to the day i started work. erm so what do i do if i get the job and i dont get paid for a month? no help with travel, no help with living.
    Its at the point of getting a job that you should be receiving all the help possible. to get you through. so frustrating.
    anyway if anyone can find information on how many jobcentreplus discount cards you can get please post a link. It is probably too late now though but at least i can show them and they can do it properly in future.

    • I have had more than two Jobcentre Travel Cards, I have had four since I left the Work Programme but this was tricky outside London. They have now told me that they have stopped it. I think that you can get travel to interviews refunded over a designated distance by the cheapest method still and the Work Programme provider will do this at that stage.

  20. Martin, I got a Travel Discount card given to me when I started my new job three months ago.
    I live in London but work in birmingham. The card is now due to expire but has helped massively with travel costs as I commute every day.
    I dont know what i will do once it expires because almost 3/4 of my salary will get eaten up paying travel costs.
    I cant get a job in london yet as have not been in this new job for long enough to get a job reference plus it will show up as another gap on my CV.
    Can you advise because the birmingham job centre where i got the card from are telling me they cannot renew?

  21. Just an after thought. Has anybody discovered which employment agency in Ipswich it was that had a poster bragging on FB about who she reported to DWP/JCP and had them sanctioned. DON”T FORGET THIS IS NOT A PROVIDER it’s a high street brand name.

  22. How Do U Apply Like Most people I got Told It Dont Exist This Is Just Stupid It Means I Have To Pay The Same Fare As Someone Whos On £100,000 P/A On The Overground Because I’m ON ESA Nothing But A Poxy 50% On buses But If Your Signed Up To 3 Different Hospitals In Central London And The Nearest Station Is London SW What chance Do U Have

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