Manchester Piccadilly railway station

Rail companies encourage jobseekers to take advantage of 50% off train travel

  • The rail industry is encouraging jobseekers across Britain to boost their job searches by applying for the free Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card
  • Take-up has dropped by over a third since the start of the pandemic
  • Over 62% of journeys using the card are taken in London and the South East – suggesting the rest of the country is missing out
  • With job vacancies hitting a record high of 1.17m, the jobs market is showing rapid signs of recovery, with employment on the rise and thousands of opportunities opening up across the country meaning millions more could benefit from rail savings

The rail industry is raising awareness of its Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card to help more people get back to work, as new figures show that take-up has dropped by nearly a third since the start of the pandemic.

The Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card gives holders a 50% discount on journeys across Britain and anyone claiming Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit for 3-9 months (18-24 year olds) or 3-12 months (over 25s) can apply through their Work Coach and local Jobcentre Plus.

Prior to the pandemic, over 1.1m journeys were made using the card – however that number dropped to 722,900 between March 2020 and October 2021. Employment stats out today show job vacancies hitting a record high of 1.17m, meaning that hundreds of thousands more could benefit and slash their travel costs as they search for their next opportunity.

Over 62% of journeys taken using the card are in London and the South East, contributing to the lion’s share of over £1.5m in savings made by jobseekers travelling by rail during the pandemic.

The Rail Delivery Group, which represents Britain’s train companies, is working with Jobcentre Plus teams to further promote the card to their local areas, as well as writing to politicians across Britain asking them for their support in raising awareness in their respective regions. While rail isn’t a suitable option for all job seekers, some areas such as Wales and the North East account for fewer than 1% of all discounted journeys made during the pandemic.

Jacqueline Starr, Chief Executive of Rail Delivery Group, said:

“Over 700,000 journeys were made during the pandemic by people using the Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card but with the world of work opening back up and new opportunities becoming available, we want to encourage even more people to take advantage as they look to secure new jobs. The railway is a key part of Britain’s clean and fair recovery, and this discount card is yet another way that train companies are helping the country to bounce back.”

Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP said:

“We’re committed to breaking down any barrier preventing jobseekers from accessing the vital training and employment opportunities they need to get back in work and back on track.

“Through our multi-billion pound Plan for Jobs and the Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card, we’re helping jobseekers across the country to cut costs and raise their job prospects as we push to build back better.”

Anna Ulewicz from Sutton used the Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card to get her career back on track

After losing her job in the pandemic, Anna was looking for a fresh career start. Always interested in teaching, Anna’s Jobcentre Plus Work Coach Simi helped her get onto a teacher training course in Croydon – a quick 20-minute train ride away from her home. The Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card helped make Anna’s commute affordable – cutting her travel cost in half – and directly contributed to her landing a new full-time role as a teacher.

Anna said:

“Without the Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card I wouldn’t have been able to attend the course or get my new job. The process of getting the card was super easy and I really appreciated the extra help to fund my travel costs. I’d encourage every jobseeker to speak to their Work Coach about it!”


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Notes to editors

Notes to editors

  1. Data sources: ONS Labour market statistics published at 07:00 on Tuesday 16 November:
  1. About the Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card: The card provides discounts of 50% on Anytime Day tickets, Off Peak Day tickets, and Season tickets up to three months in duration. The card is valid for use on selected services nationwide and can be used to purchase tickets online, including via National Rail Enquiries, at ticket machines and ticket offices.
  2. Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card eligibility: The card is available to those unemployed claiming Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit for 3-9 months (18-24 year olds) or 3-12 months (over 25s). Other benefit recipients may receive a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card from 3 months of their claim and if they are actively engaged with a Jobcentre Plus adviser. Cardholders are entitled to a 50% discount on selected rail tickets. Anyone eligible for the discount card can contact their nearest Jobcentre for more information on the card and how to apply:
  3. Journeys made by region using Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card:

Origin Region

Journeys made with card pre-COVID (Mar 2018 - Oct 2019)

Regional split of pre-covid journeys made with card

Journeys made with card during pandemic (Mar 2020 - Oct 2021)

Regional split of pandemic journeys made with card






South East










West Midlands










North West





Yorkshire And The Humber





East Midlands





South West