After News OnTheWight drew attention to the need for older residents to be able to use their bus passes before 9.30am – enabling them to access early hours shopping at supermarkets – the council withdrew the restriction. It was reinstated in June 2020.
Older residents with concessionary bus passes will be able to access free bus travel all day, every day for essential journeys from next week.
As part of the Isle of Wight Council’s efforts to support residents during the Covid-19 pandemic, free bus travel will be available before 9.30am to help eligible residents make use of early morning slots for vaccines, healthcare, shopping and other vital appointments.
Valid until schools reopen
Previously, free concessionary travel for age related pass holders was valid between 9.30am and 11pm from Monday to Friday, and at any time on weekends and public holidays.
The relaxation of the rules will continue until schools begin to reopen.
Ward: Must still observe the Gov guidance
Cllr Ian Ward, Cabinet member for transport and infrastructure, said,
“The council is extremely pleased to have reached agreement with our transport partner to extend our support for elderly residents with bus passes.
“Where possible, we want to support the vital vaccination programme and we hope this move will make things a little easier for older people who have no option but to catch the bus to get to early morning appointments.
“While passenger journeys at peak times remain significantly low due to the current national lockdown, it is very important that everyone observes the guidance provided by the government about social distancing.
“This means avoiding all unnecessary travel, avoiding and minimising social interaction between people. If you have no option but to use public transport, you should follow the public transport guidance.”
When not to travel
Residents are reminded that they must not travel at all if they:
- have been told by the NHS Test and Trace service to self-isolate;
- are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms;
- are self-isolating as a result of COVID-19 symptoms or sharing a household or support bubble with somebody with symptoms.
If you must make an essential journey, remember these important guidelines:
- Stay at least two metres (three steps) away from other people.
- Wear a face covering over your mouth and nose.
- Wash your hands often – with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Wash your hands before eating and after coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin and wash your hands.
News shared by Isle of Wight council press office, in their own words. Ed