LANCASHIRE BASED TRAVEL COMPANIES HAVE AGREED TO REMOVE THE TIME LIMIT THAT THEIR NOWCARD TRAVEL PASS CAN BE USED FROM TODAY, NOW PASS HOLDERS CAN TRAVEL BEFORE 9.30 A.M. IN THE MORNING
The elderly and disabled in Lancashire, who hold NoWcard’s issued by the local council to allow free travel on public transport which has allowed the most vulnerable in our society to get out, access local services and use the public transport for free.
There was one limit on the travel card, holders could not travel on public transport before 9.30 a.m. in the morning without paying. To use the card before this time, you either had to pay the full fare or if you were a disabled NoWcard holder, you could pay 50 pence to £1 per journey, to access public transport early in the morning.
Since the coronavirus outbreak, people have been rushing to the supermarkets and panic buying essential items such as: toilet roll, soap, hand sanitiser, pasta and other basic essentials. This caused a national outcry as people were concerned the most vulnerable in our society would not be able to access the basics they need to get by.
Members of the public petitioned local supermarkets to allow a ‘vulnerable people’s hour’ allowing the sick, disabled, pregnant or other vulnerable people, to enter the shops first before regular shoppers entered and cleared the shelves through panic buying.
Most supermarkets agreed to help and dedicated the first hour of their day to the vulnerable. They have also prioritised online shopping and delivery slots to the most vulnerable, sick and disabled.
While this was seen as a great start by many, others were still concerned, as without access to your own vehicle it would be extremely difficult to make it to the shops so early in the morning.
Vulnerable people who did own a free travel card, were left in a tricky situation as many would be unable to make it to supermarkets before they opened, as their passes would not permit them to travel until 9.30 a.m.
After this was brought to the local council’s attention, they worked with transport operators across the borough to try and have this limit remove, at least while people were still being negative impacted by this national crisis.
Lancashire Council announced today that this restriction had finally been lifted and people could now use their NoWcard before 9.30 a.m. in the morning; without a fee!
The Council have reminded people that the government have advised people not to travel using public transport, unless it is absolutely necessary. The council have also stated that they understand that people will still need to get their essentials, attend medical appointments and pick up medication; and as such have no other alternative but to use public transport.
Where possible, the government and council are still advising the public if they have to travel and use public transport, that they travel at less busy times to avoid or reduce the likelihood of the virus spreading.
Other bus providers such as ROSSO have extended free travel to key workers or volunteers who may be out collecting essentials, medication and or providing care to people who are self-isolating, vulnerable or unwell.
This is not a region wide scheme though, so it may be best to check with the transport company you’re wanting to travel with before you begin your journey.