Returning members of the armed forces are being given free bus travel to help them make their way on civvy street.
The pilot scheme is a joint effort between bus operator Go North East and Gateshead Council.
Returning ex-service personnel who live in Gateshead are being offered a Key smartcard, Go North East's electronic ticket, with six months' free travel across all the company's services in the region.
The scheme was announced ahead of Armed Forces Day on Saturday June 30.
Lt Col Dave Garner, commanding officer of 72 Engineer Regiment, said: "The travel offer from Go North East for service men and women as they leave the Armed Forces and begin a new life and career will provide much needed travel around the North East to help them find employment and somewhere to live if necessary.
"It will remove a layer of stress from the daunting prospect of leaving the support network that the Armed Forces have provided for them during their Service.
"I hope that the pilot can be expanded in the future to encompass all ex-Service men and women who settle in the North East outside of Gateshead."
Gateshead Council's armed forces champion Cllr Stuart Green said: "The work of our armed forces should never be underestimated or forgotten and it is vital that we support them when they return to our communities.
"Returning to civilian life can be very stressful. It's too easy for service men and women to find themselves without a home, without a job and with poor prospects."
Stephen King, marketing and sales manager at Go North East, said: "This scheme is the first of its kind in the UK.
"We're happy to be part of something that will ease the process of returning to civilian life for men and women who have served their country."
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