STAGECOACH is backing a new 'Bus for Jobs' initiative to help hundreds of thousands of jobseekers across the UK find employment by giving the free bus travel in the New Year.

The scheme - organised by the Greener Journeys sustainable travel campaign and also supported by other major bus operators - will enable jobseekers, especially the young, to use their routes free of charge for a month in January 2013.

Bus travel is the most popular mode of transport used by Britain’s commuters, with 5.2 billion bus journeys in the UK each year. The 'Bus for Jobs' deal will cover over 70 per cent of the nation’s bus routes, providing practical help for people who are actively seeking work or taking part in training.

Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire Managing Director Nigel Winter, said: “The bus is Britain's most important mode of public transport. It is used by thousands of people across Cumbria and North Lancashire to access employment, education and training every day.

"Bus for Jobs could make the vital difference for those who are struggling to get that first job or training place. In particular, I hope we can help more of our young people make a better start in life."

Transport Minister Norman Baker said: “Good bus services play a huge role in boosting economic growth by helping people to access employment and training opportunities. I have been encouraging bus operators to look at the fare deals they can offer to young people looking for work, so I congratulate the operators that are doing so in January and look forward to seeing other offers in the future.

“This move will benefit the industry as well as job seekers as young people are not only a key section of the market – they are the future of the local bus industry.”