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Departments: Public Transport

Volume 463: debated on Tuesday 17 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what incentives he has considered to encourage staff in his Department to use public transport. (148800)

For business journeys, the Ministry of Justice encourages staff to use public transport where practicable. Staff policy for travel and subsistence requires that staff restrict the use of pool cars or private motor vehicles to journeys that cannot be readily made by public transport.

Further assistance and encouragement is provided by the offer of interest-free loans for the purchase of season tickets for travel to work by public transport and for bicycles (including safety equipment) which are available to all employees that have at least two months service. These advances are repayable in equal monthly instalments within the life of the ticket or over a maximum of 12 months for the purchase of the bicycle. The Ministry also offers;

reimbursement of a young persons railcard for employees under the age of 24.

reimbursement of standard public transport fares for new entrants under the age of 21 taking up an initial appointment who have to live away from home because of their workplace.

three free journeys by public transport to the parental home each year for single employees under 21, who are appointed or transferred from a post where they lived with their parents to a post beyond reasonable travelling distance and who live in lodgings.

In addition, all prisons in England and Wales have travel plans. Each plan covers issues such as staff travel to and from work, car parking on site, car sharing, the use of fleet vehicles and official travelling by staff. While the format of the plans was standardised, the actual plans reflected the different circumstances at each site. Local authorities are now placing increasing emphasis on reducing travel impacts and ask to see copies of prisons’ travel plans when considering planning applications for new houseblocks or other major work at existing prisons.

The main London headquarters buildings of the National Offender Management Service and the prison service also have a travel plan. This covers staff travel to work, visitors to Headquarters buildings and delivery and contractors’ vehicles and aims to ensure that staff use, wherever, possible, environmentally friendly methods of travelling to work in order to minimise the impact of their travelling arrangements on the environment.