Peak time restrictions on concessionary tram and bus passes in Greater Manchester have been lifted to make it easier for older citizens and disabled people to get their shopping.
Although unnecessary travel is being discouraged as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, Transport for Greater Manchester said the decision had been taken after leading supermarkets – including Iceland, Booth and Sainsbury’s – announced they will open early, or set aside the first hour of business exclusively for older customers and those most vulnerable to Covid-19.
Concessionary pass holders normally pay full adult fare to travel before 9.30am, during the early morning rush hour.
Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, said: “We encourage everybody to keep travel on public transport to a minimum and to only make essential journeys. That said, we recognise that some older and disabled people, who are not yet self-isolated, may need to travel earlier than usual to get to the shops or to attend a medical appointment. For that reason, we have decided to lift these restrictions to help older and disabled people get the essential supplies and support they need.
“Where you need to travel, please do so outside usual peak travel hours where possible. This will help reduce the spread of the coronavirus and reduce pressure on our essential services in the days and weeks to come.”
Systems, including ticket validators on Metrolink stops, are now being updated to reflect the new concessionary pass travel hours, which come into effect today.
Customers should note that some machines may not be updated until Monday, but this does not affect their travel before 9.30am.
With fewer journeys being made on public transport, and fewer staff and drivers available, bus, rail and tram services will start to be reduced over the coming days.
From Sunday, buses and other public transport services will be subject to more frequent changes. This may include services operating at a reduced frequency.
Metrolink passengers with 28 day and annual travelcards are being offered refunds on the number of days left remaining on their tickets, as long as there is a minimum of 7 days remaining.
People who do need to make essential journeys are assured that a rigorous cleaning regime is in place on public transport.