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Coronavirus: Free bus travel restrictions to return

Coronavirus: Free bus travel restrictions to return

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Chris Young at 6:00am 19th May 2020.

Free travel restrictions to return

  • Pensioners have been able to use their free bus pass at any time across West Yorkshire during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Previously, concessionary travel passes can only be used after 9.30am.
  • It's thought West Yorkshire Combined Authority has reintroduced the rules as more people use public transport to return to work.

Restrictions on when pensioners can use their free bus pass across West Yorkshire will be re-introduced to allow more workers to use public transport.

At the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic West Yorkshire Combined Authority lifted restrictions on when concessionary travel passes can be used.

With many supermarkets allocating specific shopping hours for elderly customers, often in the morning, the Authority relaxed rules meaning pensioners with free bus passes could travel on public transport for free before 9.30am.

But at a meeting of the Authority’s Transport Committee on Friday, members heard that continuing this would put a strain on bus services as more people return to work.

Due to social distancing guidelines, bus routes will be able to transport fewer passengers at any one time.

Paul Matthews, managing director of First Bus, told Friday’s meeting that double decker buses could be reduced to carrying just 19 passengers to allow people to keep their distance.

With a change in Government guidelines now meaning more people are being encouraged to travel to work, the Committee was told that free travel for bus pass holders would once again be limited to after 9.30am.

This would provide more capacity on peak time buses for people travelling to work.

David Pearson, director of transport services, said:

“There are concerns about capacity at peak times, so we will be reverting back to the 9.30am cut off in June.”

Members were told that during the period the restrictions were relaxed, 10 per cent of travel by free bus pass holders took place before 9.30am.