Free travel offered in South Yorkshire to help over 60s get to supermarkets during coronavirus pandemic

South Yorkshire residents over the age of 60 can now use their free bus pass on services before 9.30am to help them get to supermarkets during the coronavirus crisis.

By Claire Lewis
Friday, 20th March 2020, 7:23 am
Updated Saturday, 21st March 2020, 5:42 pm

Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, Dan Jarvis, has announced an extension of the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme Senior Pass so that it can be used on all buses and trams in South Yorkshire before 9.30am any day of the week, starting from today.

The temporary measure has been announced to help people who have a current senior pass access key services during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as supermarkets, to align with initiatives by food retailers allowing OAP’s exclusive access to their stores early in the morning.

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Buses in Sheffield city centre. Picture: Steve Ellis

Public Health England guidance recommends that anyone aged 70 or over follows social distancing measures in the coming weeks, including avoiding non-essential use of public transport.

But for some older people public transport is their only option, connecting them to vital health and support services and shops.

Mayor Jarvis said: “In these uncertain times we must all follow the advice from the NHS and Public Health England. At the moment people over 70 have been advised to stop all unnecessary travel.

Shoppers queuing at Tesco on Spital Hill, Burngreave, Sheffield, yesterday

“But we do know that they may still need to visit the supermarket to get vital supplies. Along with South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, I have therefore decided to extend the hours so that they are able to use their senior passes before 9.30am any day of the week. This will help people do their shopping and access the grace periods introduced by supermarkets.

“This is an extraordinarily difficult time for all our communities, businesses and public services and we are doing everything we can to support them. It is essential that people pull together and look out for each other. This means shopping sensibly and supporting others, particularly the elderly and vulnerable.”

As of yesterday the coronavirus death toll in South Yorkshire was 144.

Schools close today for the foreseeable future in a bid to reduce the spread of the virus.

Visit travelsouthyorkshire.com for more information on the free travel scheme.