PEOPLE coming off the dole in Bradford will be given free bikes to help them get to their new jobs.
Local transport chiefs have been handed a £2.8 million grant from the Government’s ‘sustainable transport fund’ to encourage people out of their cars.
Metro, West Yorkshire’s transport body, said some of the cash would be spent on buying 150 bikes for jobseekers, with scores of cycles heading to Bradford.
A spokesman said: “We will be funding a further 150 reconditioned bikes and sets of cycling accessories for jobseekers, who have a job start but no means to get there.
“Bradford JobCentre Plus will be allocated a proportion of these, so jobseekers attending the JobCentres in Bradford, Shipley and Keighley will be able to access these for ‘wheels to work’.
“This funding will also support NEETS [young people not in employment, education and training] and apprentices.”
Metro already boasts 100 bikes for West Yorkshire jobseekers, working in partnership with the organisation ‘Cycle-Recycle’ in Bradford, which restores old bikes.
But the new cash will allow a big expansion of the programme, in 2015/16, also funding the continuation of other schemes, including:
* A free zone 1-5 monthly MetroCard to help people with new jobs travel to work and “bridge the transition from benefits to the first monthly salary”.
Officials said almost one in three people said they would not have been able to accept the job without such support - and 97 per cent continued to use public transport.
* Cycle training to help parents ride to school with their children – including at Frizinghall Primary School, in Bradford.
* The £8 million smart card programme that has already issued over half a million smart cards across West Yorkshire.
Councillor Peter Box, chairman of the new West Yorkshire Combined Authority, said: "The success of the bid is good news for our local economy. It will support employers by delivering further enhancements to smart card delivery and information and extend the work of our Travel Plan Network, which was established to help local businesses.
"I’m also pleased that it will support job seekers in their return to work through the provision of free travel cards, which has proved very successful to date, particularly in helping young people early in their careers."
Stephen Hammond, the outgoing transport minister, said: "Almost all eligible local authorities submitted a bid for funding, and 44 were successful.
"The successful schemes will deliver a range of sustainable transport interventions across England, including enhanced cycling and walking infrastructure, improved bus journeys and better transport interchanges."