End of the road for low-cost car scheme

THIS month’s bleak unemployment figures come with news that a low-cost transport scheme that helped more than 60 people into work has folded.

The jobCarz scheme provided a cut-price car hire service for people returning to work after claiming benefits who may be hindered by a lack of transport.

But time has been called on the project by Peterlee-based charity East Durham Community Transport due to a lack of revenue funding support.

Users could hire a car for £30 per week and fuel charges, with other costs covered by the jobCarz scheme.

The jobCarz scheme was launched in 2009 and was originally supported by Government funding to cover set-up costs of the 10-car fleet.

But the charity cannot afford to run the scheme from hire income alone with an additional £1,500 per car per year required in revenue funding to cover insurance, servicing, repairs and other operating costs.

East Durham Community Transport manager Liam Weatherill said: “It is a very sad day for us as we see the cars being returned.

“We would prefer that the cars were getting people to work, but we have had no other option than to fold the scheme after the final deadline was passed and no revenue funding was forthcoming from statutory agencies and stakeholder organisations.

“This has been a flagship scheme for the North-East supporting people in County Durham, Hartlepool and Sunderland into employment, and has generated a lot of interest from around the country.”

John Enciso, a user of the scheme, was able to start a job in Team Valley, in Gateshead, thanks to jobCarz, just three weeks ago.

But today he said: “I am working some options out with my employer.

“If it wasn’t for jobCarz I wouldn’t even be in employment.”