Almost £600k has been made available for transport projects designed to help unemployed people and new starters in West Yorkshire travel to interviews and new jobs.
West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) has secured £590K from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Local Sustainable Transport Fund which means that the successful JobCentre Plus and go:cycling projects can be extended.
Around 9,000 jobseekers and new starters have received support with travel through the scheme which has involved the WYCA’s Travel Plan Network working with all 23 JobCentre Plus offices in West Yorkshire.
The scheme has provided almost 3,000 West Yorkshire people with a bus tickets to travel to job interviews. And almost 6,000 people have been provided with a MetroCard to travel to their workplace for their first month of work. At the end of that first month, these new starters are sent a ‘best fare’ letter, before their ticket expires. This helps them choose the best-value ticket to buy.
go:cycling has provided free adult cycle training, bike maintenance sessions, information and advice to over 20,000 people. Launched in 2012, go:cycling’s aim is to encourage adults to take up cycling and to enable more people to commute to work by bike.
A joint approach with JobCentre Plus, the go:cycling team and cycling providers in West Yorkshire has seen reconditioned bikes high-viz vests, helmets, lights, bike locks and training provided to people who would otherwise be unable to access jobs via public transport. Thirty-nine bikes were supplied to people in the Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield districts between September 2012 and December 2013.
Welcoming the funding, West Yorkshire Combined Authority Chairman Cllr Peter Box said, “While the new Combined Authority is primarily about the public and private sectors helping the economy to grow and creating jobs, it is also about making sure we develop the transport network that links people with those jobs.
“Connecting people with job opportunities is vital, which is why it is so important that the ongoing discussions with government are resolved and we have the powers to make our own decisions about how the local transport network is developed and funded.”
Cllr James Lewis Chairman of the Combined Authority’s Transport Committee said “Feedback has shown that as many as 30% of the project’s respondents wouldn’t have been able to accept the job without the help of the free MetroCard and that almost 90% of participants are still employed.
“Over 97% of those people are still using public transport to travel to work of whom 69% are buying weekly or monthly tickets.”
Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Chairman Roger Marsh said, “Schemes such as these, which match up people and jobs go hand in hand with the LEP and the new Combined Authority’s ambition for transport and economic investment.
“This ambition is founded on four strategic priorities which include developing a skilled and flexible workforce and delivering the infrastructure for growth. This funding supports the LEP and the Combined Authority to deliver these priorities and this is welcome news for the City Region.”