Derbyshire public transport failings a 'problem' for job seekers

An organisation which works with Derbyshire job seekers says public transport failings are a huge and ongoing problem.

By Tim Paget
Friday, 26th November 2021, 4:25 pm

Derbyshire Unemployed Workers’ Centre (DUWC) coordinator Colin Hampton said buses and trains arriving too late for factory workers to start a shift at 6am had been a problem ‘for some time’.

He was speaking after the Derbyshire Times raised the struggles of one Derbyshire man who has been forced to turn down three jobs recently.

Rob Baker, 47, who lives in Creswell, cannot get to Chesterfield or Worksop in time to start a shift.

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Colin Hampton, of the Derbyshire Unemployed Workers' Centre, says public transport failings are a huge and ongoing problem.

At weekends, Rob said the situation is even worse, despite the seven-day economy in place at the majority of workplaces.

Mr Hampton said it was also an issue when benefits claimants faced sanctions for not taking jobs – even when it was impossible for them to get to get to the workplace.

"Before the pandemic I had spoken to a number of unemployed people who had lost benefits because they could not get to Somercotes, for Thorntons, Holmewood trading estate or Sheepbridge trading estate for the required shift patterns.

"With sanctions suspended at the start of the pandemic we have not seen much of this but I am sure it will be back now they are beginning to put the pressure on again.

"Seventeen years ago we conducted research into barriers to employment and problems with transport affected just under half of respondents.

"It was the sixth highest reason given as the top barrier to employment – behind health problems, lack of jobs, low wages, affordable childcare and lacking qualifications.

"I am sure things are little better now other than there are more employment opportunities.”

After a struggle with mental health, Rob is keen to get back to work but says he is being held back.

"I want to go to work but keep missing out on jobs because of this farcical situation,” Rob, of Ann Street, said.

"We live in an area with some of the biggest distribution centres and other factories in the country, but the people who want to work there need a car to get to work on time."

A spokesperson for bus company Stagecoach said it was hoping to ‘build back better’ post-Covid, but the immediate priority was ‘to recruit enough bus drivers’.