Coronavirus lockdown free bus travel extension to end
- Credit: Archant
People with concessionary bus passes will no longer be able to use them on Norfolk’s buses before 9.30am on weekdays, after regulations relaxed during the coronavirus lockdown were put back in place.
Usually, holders of the passes, including older people and those with disabilities, can get free travel between 9.30am and 11pm Monday to Friday and all day at weekends and on public holidays.
But, in March, as coronavirus lockdown started and fewer people were travelling, the bus operators agreed to a temporary amendment to the concessionary travel scheme.
That meant that concessionary pass holders could get free travel before 9.30am, so that they could get to the shops early and access limited supplies at a time when people were rushing to supermarkets.
However, Norfolk County Council has, through a delegated decision taken by Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, agreed to revert to the normal way of operating.
That means that, from Monday, June 15, concessionary bus pass holders cannot travel for free until after 9.30am.
A report by council officers said, while the government message is still to stay at home whenever possible, the go-ahead to allow shops to reopen from Monday meant there would be more demand for public transport.
They said: “To ensure that everyone can use public transport safely, and that they are adhering to social distancing guidelines, local bus operators have had to make some drastic changes to how many people they can carry on a bus.
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“No standing will be allowed and there will be a reduced availability of seats.
“Bus operators are increasing the frequencies of their services but there is still a risk of too many passengers wishing to board particularly at peak times.
“This will present a difficulty for the driver in managing too many people who wish to travel and will impact on people who may have to wait for another bus.
“To assist with limiting the number of people trying to travel at the same time, it is prudent to now remove the temporary discretionary amendment and remove free travel before 9.30am for those with concessionary travel passes.”
People using public transport will have to wear face coverings from Monday, June 15.