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ONS Labour Market Overview: Northern encourages estimated 80,000 new ‘payrolled employees’ across the North of England to commute by rail

More then 80,000 new ‘payrolled employees’ across the North of England are eligible for the equivalent of three months free travel to work with Northern.


The train operator has made the claim in response to the latest ‘Labour Market Overview’ published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) yesterday (13 February 2024).

In their report, the ONS estimates there are more than 80,000 extra ‘payrolled employees’ (81,461) across the North of England in January 2024 compared to January 2023.

The biggest rise is thought to be in the North West (43,671), followed by Yorkshire and The Humber (24,112) and the North East (13,678).

Northern has a long running campaign to encourage people to commute to work by rail, with their Employee Season Scheme a flagship policy.

The annual ticket, bought by the employer and then deducted in monthly instalments direct from the employees’ paycheque, offers up to 33% discount on their journeys – equating to 12 weeks’ free travel over the course of the year.

Employee Season Scheme tickets can be used at weekends and bank holidays too, meaning extra savings for the employee when travelling on their chosen route for leisure journeys.

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Mark Powles, commercial and customer director at Northern, said:

“We’re always looking for ways to encourage and support people to commute to work by rail.

“If you’re one of the estimated 80,000 people that have become a new ‘payrolled employee’ in the last year – there are savings out there to be had that will help cut the cost of your commute.”

Northern is the second largest train operator in the UK, with 2,500 services a day to more than 500 stations across the North of England.