Give jobseekers a ‘ticket to thrive’: new report shows key role of public transport in tackling unemployment

Woman boarding bus

- Report sets out seven key policies to overcome transport barriers to work -

A new report from pteg has revealed the vital role of public transport, and the bus in particular, in enabling people to find and sustain employment. Some 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. ‘Ticket to Thrive: The role of urban public transport in tackling unemployment’, recommends seven key policies that could help overcome these obstacles.

It finds that people who have never worked or are 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.  This vital role continues into employment - more people commute to work by bus than by any other public transport mode and one in ten bus commuters would be forced to look for another job, or give up work altogether, if bus services disappeared.

Despite the importance of the bus to jobseekers and employees alike, the report identifies a series of transport obstacles that can prevent people from accessing work, namely:

  • Expensive public transport tickets – 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 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.
  • Limited travel horizons - jobseekers can lack trust in, and knowledge of, public transport options.

With economic growth and the need to tackle unemployment high on the agenda, the report recommends 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 and connect people to opportunity.
  • More effective powers over bus services for local transport authorities, offering them greater control over where and when buses run and the affordability of fares.
  • Review potential for an adequately funded national jobseeker and apprentice travel concession.

Chair 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.’


For more contact Jonathan Bray on 0781 804 1485

‘Ticket to Thrive: The role of urban public transport in tackling unemployment’ and an infographic, summarising the key findings, can be downloaded below.