Free travel pass help for newly-employed West Midland workers

Passengers in the Black Country with new jobs are being urged to snap up free travel passes on the bus, tram and train.

From left: Michael Thornton (TfWM), Matthew Savin, Claire Williams (TfWM), Sandep Shingadia (TfWM), Cllr Iqbal Padda (Sandwell Council), Vicky Beddows (TfWM) and Sophie Allison (West Midlands Metro)
From left: Michael Thornton (TfWM), Matthew Savin, Claire Williams (TfWM), Sandep Shingadia (TfWM), Cllr Iqbal Padda (Sandwell Council), Vicky Beddows (TfWM) and Sophie Allison (West Midlands Metro)

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) is working in partnership with public transport operators to offer two four-week tickets free, then a third four-week ticket at a 50 per cent discount on some travel passes under the Workwise scheme.

The initiative was set up to give newly employed workers a helping hand.

Workwise previously offered half price travel for three months on selected West Midlands travel passes. Now the West Midlands Combined Authority and its operators have launched a new offer to help more people into work.

Matthew Savin, aged 22, from Oldbury, has recently joined the authority as a service desk support apprentice.

“The Workwise offer has helped me to get cheaper access to transport links, which allowed me to kickstart my new apprenticeship. I was unemployed for almost six months and the scheme has given me much-needed travel support, making it easier for me to get to work. I’m really looking forward to my new job and the future is bright,” Mr Savin says.

Sandwell Council’s regeneration and growth boss Councillor Iqbal Padda, who attended the launch at West Bromwich Bus Station, said: “We welcome this boost for getting the people of Sandwell back into work, to develop their skills so they can respond to changing business needs and obtain jobs in the growing West Midlands economy.”

West Midlands mayor Andy Street said: “Sadly we know thousands of people have lost their jobs or been put on furlough because of the pandemic, so it’s never been more important to help residents into work.

“There are lots of jobs available now, in sectors such as construction, health and care, and digital, but we know that the cost of travel to work is a major barrier to employment because most people don’t get paid for up to a month after starting their new job.

“That’s why we are offering eight weeks’ worth of free bus, tram and rail travel for people moving into work, plus a half-price ticket for four more weeks - and I would ask all employers to make sure their new staff are aware of this offer.”

Anyone paying an adult fare who lives or works in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall, Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Coventry and Solihull may be eligible to apply for Workwise.

Apprentices and those who are increasing their weekly hours to 16 or more in their current job could also benefit from the scheme.

Details are on the TfWM website.

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