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CONCESSIONARY BUS PASS USE EXTENDED TO ALL DAY IN OXFORDSHIRE TO HELP VULNERABLE RESIDENTS

Press release   •   Mar 20, 2020 16:31 GMT

Peak time restrictions on concessionary bus passes will be lifted in Oxfordshire to enable older citizens and disabled people to get their shopping and continue to access vital services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oxford Bus Company, Thames Travel and Stagecoach are lifting restrictions on access to free travel for bus pass holders, thanks to support from Oxfordshire County Council.

Usually concessionary bus pass holders can only access free travel after 9am. However, bus operators and the County Council partnered to ensure they will be removed to enable the vulnerable, elderly and disabled to be able to do early morning supermarket shopping.

It comes after many major supermarket chains announced they will open early or set aside the first hour of business exclusively for older customers and the most vulnerable to COVID-19. The restrictions will be removed from Monday on all bus services in Oxfordshire and the areas of Berkshire served by Thames Travel.

Phil Southall, Managing Director of Oxford Bus Company and Thames Travel, said: “Local buses are playing a vital role in supporting key workers and the vulnerable during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Our services remain available for people to use in line with current government advice and we’re determined to maintain our service for those who continue to rely on it most. We recognise some older and vulnerable people, who are not yet self-isolating may need to use our service to do their shopping earlier in the day. On this basis we have lifted the usual restrictions and extend our thanks to Oxfordshire County Council for supporting this move.”

The bus operators are maintaining extensive cleaning regimes and high levels of hygiene to protect the health and well-being of passengers and colleagues. The regimes are carefully monitored, and a greater focus is being placed on high-touch areas.

Chris Coleman, Managing Director at Stagecoach in Oxfordshire said: “Whilst we recognise these are challenging times, we know people rely on our services and we provide a vital lifeline for the elderly and vulnerable customers.

“So, in line with other businesses, such as supermarkets making special allowances for exclusive access to food and services, working in partnership with our local authority, we will be temporarily allowing concessionary bus travel any time of day."

The Oxford Bus Company has kept the people of Oxford moving since 1881. Our services now span the width and breadth of Oxford and also take passengers to Heathrow and Gatwick Airports. In addition, our City Sightseeing Oxford hop-on, hop-off open topped bus company provides enjoyable tours of Oxford. And our sister companies, Thames Travel and Carousel Buses provide convenient travel services across South Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire respectively.