An extension of travel benefits to NoWcard holders is coming to an end from next week as lockdown restrictions are further reduced and more retailers are allowed to trade.
An entitlement to free travel using a concessionary travel pass was extended to cover the pre 9.30am morning peak in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as essential retailers experienced some disruption to supplies and dedicated the first hour of shopping to older and vulnerable people.
Bus operators are now expecting increased peak-time demand as people working in retail join key workers already using these services, however social distancing restrictions mean that capacity on buses in much reduced.
There is therefore a need to ensure that the limited seats available are prioritised for people who need to get to work.
From Monday 15 June, as town and city centres begin to reopen, normal arrangements will resume. Holders of the older persons NoWcard will be entitled to free travel only after 9.30am. Disabled persons NoWcard holders will still be able to travel before 9.30am for a flat fare of £1. The NoWcard covers the Lancashire County Council, Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackpool Council areas.
Government advice remains that people should only use public transport for necessary journeys such as getting to work if they have no alternative, and to consider walking or cycling instead if they can.
Older and vulnerable people are advised to try to travel at quieter times when more seats will be available and it is easier to maintain social distancing.