Unemployed people outside London and the south-east are failing to take advantage of half-price rail travel, figures from the last year have revealed.
In Liverpool Walton – one of the most deprived constituencies in the UK, with an unemployment rate more than twice the national average – just one person used a discount card offered by all train operators in Britain to accredited jobseekers.
By contrast, 17,745 journeys were made using the discount card in the City of London and Westminster constituency alone, figures from the Rail Delivery Group show.
Only 28% of 518,822 discounted journeys were made outside London and the south-east in the year to March 2018.
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 jobseeker’s allowance or universal credit for 13-39 weeks (18-24-year-olds) or 13-52 weeks (25 and over).
The rail industry is working with Jobcentre Plus teams to 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.
Paul Plummer, the chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which brings together train companies and Network Rail, 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.”Passenger journeys made with the discount card
5 March 2017 to 3 March 2018
City of London and Westminster: 17,745
Ilford South: 16,443
West Ham: 13,973
Lewisham Deptford: 8,790
Hackney South and Shoreditch: 8,775
Bermondsey and Old Southwark: 8,634
Croydon Central: 8,046
Birmingham Ladywood: 7,902
East Lothian: 2
Penistone and Stocksbridge: 2
Stockton North: 2
Liverpool Walton: 1
Newport East: 1
North Herefordshire: 1
Sheffield Hallam: 1