Pteg report highlights importance of bus for employment

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A new report from pteg has highlighted the importance of public transport, and the bus in particular, in enabling people to find and sustain employment.

According to the report, 77% of jobseekers in British cities outside London do not have regular access to a car, van or motorbike and can face significant transport barriers to work as a result.

The report argued that people who have never worked or are in long-term unemployed are significantly less likely to make trips as a car driver or passenger or by rail, but considerably more likely to use buses. Some 60% of urban jobseekers feel they would have less chance of finding a job without bus services. More people commute to work by bus than by any other public transport mode and one in 10 bus commuters would be forced to look for another job, or give up work altogether, if bus services disappeared.

The report identifies a series of obstacles which it claimed can prevent people from accessing work:

  • Commercial bus fares in Metropolitan areas have increased by 26% in the last decade;
  • Poorly connected employment sites – lower skilled vacancies in particular tend to be located outside of more profitable commuter bus routes and are therefore less attractive to commercial bus operators;
  • Mismatches between working hours and available transport – public transport usually corresponds to ‘traditional’ nine-to-five working patterns, making shift work difficult; and
  • Jobseekers can lack trust in, and knowledge of, public transport options.

The report recommended seven key policy measures that would assist in overcoming these barriers. These include a new funding deal to enable local councils to protect lifeline bus services, more powers over bus services for local transport authorities and review potential for an adequately funded national jobseeker and apprentice travel concession.

Chairman of pteg, Dr Jon Lamonte, said: “This report provides further evidence of the pivotal role that public transport, and especially bus services, can play in determining whether people are able to find, accept and stay in employment. It also presents a suite of policies that could tip the balance in favour of opportunity and social mobility and against unemployment and isolation. Get it right and we can ensure that people have not just a ticket to ride, but a ticket to thrive.”