Unemployed Londoners in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) or the new Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) can now benefit from half-price bus and tram travel, thanks to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and Transport for London (TfL).
Eligible Londoners in receipt of the allowances can now get the same half priced travel concession that those on Income Support currently benefit from. The move, which is part of the Mayor's Economic recovery Action Plan, is designed to help people back to work by making it easier to travel to interviews, and access libraries, job centres, and other amenities.
The extension means that around a further 150,000 Londoners should benefit from the scheme over the next 12 months. The Mayor is particularly concerned to help jobseekers through the current economic downturn. The discount will also help those who benefited from the previous Income Support discount scheme who have now been made ineligible by the changes to the benefits system that the Government has recently introduced.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "Londoners deserve tremendous respect for the way that they are weathering the economic downturn. These are tough times for everyone and while world leaders use our great city to discuss this urgent matter; its impact on Londoners means that we must do all we can to help those who have unfortunately found themselves out of work through no fault of their own.
“At my request, TfL has introduced a number of targeted fares reductions and concessions to help those on low incomes who are feeling the impact most strongly. The extension of half price bus and tram travel to those on Job Seekers Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance will greatly assist unemployed Londoners travelling to job interviews and access job centres, libraries and other amenities that will help them find jobs.”
The Mayor has already introduced a number of targeted fares reductions and concessions, including reduced off-peak Tube fares, half price bus fares for Londoners on Income Support, free travel for war veterans and the 24 hour Freedom Pass on all TfL services.
The Mayor's Economic Recovery Action Plan sets out a detailed £3bn package of measures to get London back on track and through the economic downturn, including helping businesses, helping Londoners, and investing in London's infrastructure and skills base to support long-term growth.
Notes to Editors
· The concessionary scheme is being extended to those on Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for a period of 12 months initially.
· The concession is obtained through a paper photocard valid for 6 months, and Oyster card with the discount loaded on it.
· The Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) is payable to people under pension age who are available for and actively seeking full-time work.
· Residents of London Boroughs will be eligible for the discount after they have been claiming JSA for a minimum of 13 weeks. After claiming for 6 months, if they remain on JSA, they will be eligible for the New Deal concession, which provides additional travel benefits.
· ESA Claimants are eligible for the Bus & Tram discount immediately, as they would if they had claimed under the Income Support scheme. As is the case for Income Support claimants, if they are still eligible after six months they will be able to re-apply to get the discount for a further six months.
· In October 2008 the Government changed the eligibility criteria for its Income Support scheme. Lone parents of children aged 12 and over are being migrated to means-tested JSA and lone parents of younger children will follow.
· In addition, new claimants on the grounds of incapacity now apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) rather than Income Support.
· This extension will restore eligibility for the discount to 60,000 or so Londoners affected by the Government's benefit system changes, and will broaden it further to include Londoners already on JSA.
· JSA and ESA claimants eligible for the discount scheme will, like those qualifying under the Income Support scheme, be able to pay half the adult rate Oyster pay as you go fares on buses and trams (with half adult price day cap) and buy half adult price Bus and Tram passes valid for 7 days or longer. The terms and conditions for the expanded scheme remain unchanged.
· As under the previous 2007/08 Bus & Tram scheme, concession holders are able to continue to benefit from the discount for a full six month period, even if they succeed in returning to employment before their concession expires.
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