Since their introduction concessionary passes for use on buses and some trams have seen a limit on their use during morning peak times but in light of the current Coronavirus pandemic it has now been announced that this will be waived in many locations. On top of this more measures have been confirmed across the UK to try and combat the spread including enhanced cleaning regimes, automatic opening of doors and reduced timetables.
You can’t fail to have noticed in the news that the nation has been gripped by panic buying with Supermarket shelves being cleared on practically everything by those who want to be prepared in case they aren’t able to go anywhere. To try and combat the fact that the most vulnerable members of society are then unable to get the basics a number of supermarkets announced this week that they would be opening for an hour at the start exclusively for them but then that led to a problem of how did they get there to do their shopping? With the peak time restrictions on concessionary passes they had the choice of either paying full fare or risking it later in the day.
But now on Manchester Metrolink, Nottingham Express Transit, Stagecoach Supertram, Tyne and Wear Metro and the West Midlands Metro it has been announced that these restrictions will no longer be in place allowing anyone with a pass issued through the English National Concessionary pass scheme to use it at any time during the day.
Meanwhile, following on from the Tyne and Wear Metro reduced services are set to be introduced on other systems in the coming days. With London the area most affected by the pandemic so far both London Tramlink and the Docklands Light Railway will operate reduced services from Monday 23rd March although details of these are yet to be made public. Up on Edinburgh Trams and from Sunday 22nd March trams will run every 15 minutes throughout the day whilst on Stagecoach Supertram Monday 23rd March sees a new timetable introduced with trams every 20 minutes on the Blue and Yellow routes and every 30 on the Purple and Tram-Train service between 0600 and 2100. In addition a very limited service will run between 2100 and midnight between Meadowhall and Middlewood and Halfway to Cathedral. It is also expected services will be reduced on Manchester Metrolink but no official details have been given on this just yet and the Tyne and Wear Metro have warned of a further reduction in their service.
All systems are also continuing to reassure anyone who does still need to travel that they are doing everything possible to make it as safe as can be. On the West Midlands Metro the rigorous cleaning regime has been increased for trams, tram stops and main customer touch points, including handrails, loops and push surfaces. Drivers will also be opening all doors automatically at stops to reduce the need for passengers to press the button to open them. It’s a similar situation on the Blackpool Tramway with drivers also opening the doors at all stops and extra anti-bacterial products being made available to staff.