Managing transport exclusion

The role of transport in shaping the experience of poverty for many families is also crucial, and can have knock on consequences for parental employment opportunities and children’s school outcomes. It is also an area that local authorities can have some influence over. For example, in Liverpool, the regional child poverty commission has been working closely with the local transport providers to address transport poverty.

Merseyside travel and the Liverpool City Region Child Poverty and Life Chances Commission

The Liverpool City Region Child Poverty Commission recognises the contribution transport can make to reducing child poverty and has set out four key actions for transport in the Liverpool City Region Child Poverty and Life Chances Strategy 2011-2014:

  • To pilot a cycle hire scheme within the city region
  • To provide travel advice for those seeking work
  • To deliver a sustainable transport scheme to ensure good access to employment and education
  • To share best practice on improving road safety across the city region

Set out below are a number of case studies demonstrating how through transport is supporting the delivery of the Liverpool City Region Child Poverty and Life Chances Strategy.

Travel advice for those seeking work – travel training

This free solution is for people who need extra help and support to use public transport independently, offering one to one travel support, teaching the skills, knowledge and confidence that are needed to travel independently. Travel training is available for anybody staring new employment, or needing the confidence to travel to interviews and training, and will teach the skills and knowledge required to plan and carry out a journey.

For example, the Wirral Travel Trainers received a referral for Mr M in December 2012 from an organisation called Working Life. The Working Life team support people with disabilities into paid or unpaid employment and volunteering, including access to training and developing employable skills. The trainers assessed Mr. M’s specific needs and established the easiest public transport route to take, along with a detailed step by step guide booklet. After 15 travel training sessions Mr. M felt confident enough to do the journey alone. Following completion of the training, Mr. M successfully gained part-time paid employment and stated that without the travel training he would not have been able to secure paid employment.

Mersyside Transport Solutions Team

Merseytravel’s Transport Solutions local sustainable transport fund programme provides support to unemployed people gaining employment, supporting economic regeneration. This programme provided bespoke one to one innovative transport solutions for jobseekers. An example of the bespoke support was support for a jobcentre Plus Sector Based Work Academy in Autumn 2012. The Academy leads to guaranteed interviews for jobseekers for employment in the car manufacturing sector.

The Transport Solutions team attended the Academy twice a week for five weeks providing journey plans and travel cards to enable unemployed people to attend the training. The site for employment was originally in Kirkby (in the North East of Merseyside) but on completion of training, around 290 individuals were told that the jobs would be in Ellesmere Port (North Cheshire). 

The team provided information from taxi firms, different routes for public transport, developed a car-sharing scheme all with associated costs. 190 individuals where successful and have stayed in employment and carry on using public transport or car sharing to get there and back. This example was showcased across the country and after only 13 days in his new job Neil Cooling, Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus visited Merseytravel to discuss the support we provided. Each and every client that receives support from the team is encouraged to use public transport.

Merseytravel’s Apprenticeship Bike Scheme

Merseytravel are committed to supporting individuals to access employment and skills and have delivered a free bike scheme as part of the local sustainable transport fund) programme for NEETs (young people not in education, employment or training) who are accessing apprenticeship schemes.

The Smarter Choices team carried out a pilot in 2012/13 to enable 100 NEETs to travel to apprenticeship schemes. The scheme was developed following feedback from young people and apprenticeship providers that the cost of transport is a barrier to accessing employment and training. The scheme provides access to a healthy affordable travel option, increase physical activity amongst participants and encourages cycling for work, utility and social purposes, while enabling participants to be economically active.

The programme has been delivered in conjunction with organisations or training providers who deliver apprenticeship schemes. 100 bikes and equipment such as a high visibility jackets, lights and cycle helmets have been given to NEET’s accessing apprenticeship schemes through St Helen’s Chamber of Commerce, Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, Merseyside Youth Association, Liverpool Community College and UK Railway Ltd.

Cycle training and maintenance sessions have been delivered to the NEETs to give them the road skills to cycle safely and the skills to maintain their bikes to ensure they are roadworthy.

Although 100 bikes have been given out, some apprenticeship schemes manage the bikes to enable them to be passed from one cohort to another. This provides even greater value for money as more apprentices can benefit from the scheme.

'The bike scheme has been a great success. The lads use them and are looking after them’ Dee McDermott, UK Railway Training

‘The students are thrilled’, Mike Flannery, Everton Free School

Green Streets – case study: Sutton Manor

Four Acre and Sutton Manor were once the locations of several collieries which closed over the last 20 years. The semi-rural areas remain largely the subject of social and economic deprivation. Recent green space improvements have been made, but the areas still lacked street trees. 

171 trees have since been planted and as a result the area has become more pleasant for walking and cycling and new leisure and recreation opportunities have been created through improved green space. 

Improving the local environment has also encouraged more visitors to the area and inward investment in new tenure housing stock by developers and social housing providers. Other economic benefits have been secured, including a raised profile and improved investment for the local Lea Green Industrial Park. 

Sutton Manor is set to benefit from further street tree planting, which will create more attractive travel routes between areas of high unemployment and places of education, training and work. The greening of the routes will complement a raft of other local projects within the wider local sustainable transport fund programme, such as cycle hire schemes and improved bus services. The project also aims to boost the number of people using sustainable modes of travel including walking, cycling and taking the bus, providing a greener route to work.

With thanks to John Smith, Merseyside Travel.