Rising transport costs are making it difficult for thousands of young people to participate in education and training, leaving many unable to enter or stay in work, according to a new report from The Work Foundation. This is particularly the case for young people living in rural areas who find it harder to stay in work due to inadequate public transport routes from their homes. The report, published today (14 December), calls on the government to implement policies that will reduce the transport barriers which exacerbate the youth unemployment crisis.

Figures show that transport costs have made it difficult for one in five young people to participate in education and training, with many unable to gain or maintain employment. The situation is even worse for young people living in rural areas who face further obstacles to finding jobs close enough for an affordable or accessible commute.

Transport Barriers to Youth Employment shows how young people in work are generally in low-paid sectors such as sales and customer services. This means many will struggle to afford next months further increases in transport costs. The report reveals how transport barriers are especially problematic for those in part-time or temporary work, those living or working in remote locations and those who have to travel long distances.

Katy Jones, lead report author and researcher at The Work Foundation said: “Nearly one million young people are unemployed and for many lack of affordable transport is a key barrier to finding work. Yet central government policy does little to address this. The government should guarantee concessionary fares for young, long-term unemployed people. To keep support in line with participation in education and training, it should also extend transport assistance up until the age of 18, in line with planned increases in the participation age.”

Co-author Neil Lee added: “Local authorities also have an important role to play. They need to ensure young people are adequately consulted on the planning and provision of local transport services. Local authorities should provide stable, long-term support for community and personal transport schemes (such as the widely endorsed Wheels 2 Work schemes). In addition, information services such as Traveline need to be better advertised, accessible and accurate.

“We are also calling on Work Programme providers to take action and ensure transport obstacles faced by young people are individually identified and addressed within the scheme.”

The report is the third from The Work Foundation’s Missing Million programme, a two-year solutions-focused project aimed at increasing the employment prospects of young people in the UK.