Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council have agreed to reimburse local bus and tram operators for free trips made by concessionary pass holders before 9.30am on weekdays.
The move means that if the elderly and disabled need to get essentials from supermarkets and shops or attend medical appointments, they can now do so for free. It complements moves by a number of supermarkets to allow access for this group of customers only for the first hour the shop is open.
General advice remains to limit travel wherever possible – resulting in fewer people using public transport and posing a public health risk. If elderly and vulnerable people do make the decision to make journeys, they can now do so on public transport for free.
Normally, people in this category are reimbursed for trips made after 9.30am as part of the National Concessionary Travel Scheme. Public transport may be the only option for some of these customers.
Nottingham City Transport, NET trams, CT4N (commercial and Link buses), Centrebus and Marshalls are the confirmed city operators that began allowing free travel for concessionary pass holders before 9.30am on weekdays from today, Thursday 19th March. Trent Barton have also introduced the same measures.
Portfolio Holder for Adult Care and Transport, Cllr Adele Williams, said: “We are trying to find practical ways to help people, especially the elderly and vulnerable, through these difficult times. Responding to the fact that many supermarkets are now opening only for elderly and disabled people at the beginning of the day, and the fact that fewer people are now using public transport, it made sense for us, with the County Council, to fund an extension of the free travel period so that they can easily and safely pick up essentials.
“We’re pleased that other operators like Trent Barton have already introduced this measure so that wherever elderly and disabled people live in an around Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, they can be sure there is a public transport link to local amenities which will be free to use every weekday morning.”
Councillor John Cottee, Chairman of the Communities & Place Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “In view of the specific advice being given by the Government to those who are elderly and have underlying health conditions, we want to help this group of people to use their concessionary passes on public transport at the right time, to take advantage of their exclusive access to some supermarkets during the first hour after opening.
“This is the safest way to ensure that vulnerable residents can buy the food and supplies they need, whilst minimising the risk presented to them by Coronavirus. I am delighted that Nottinghamshire County Council and Nottingham City Council have been able to work together with local bus companies and NET trams to agree this special arrangement.”