ELDERLY and disabled bus users will enjoy free travel all day after operators lifted restrictions in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Oxford Bus Company, Thames Travel and Stagecoach has lifted restrictions on access to free travel for bus pass holders.

Usually concessionary bus pass holders can only access free travel after 9am.

However, bus operators and Oxfordshire County Council has partnered to remove the restrictions to enable the vulnerable, elderly and disabled to be able to do early morning supermarket shopping.

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It comes after many major supermarket chains announced they will open early for older customers.

Phil Southall, Managing Director of Oxford Bus Company and Thames Travel, said: “Local buses are playing a vital role in supporting key workers and the vulnerable during the COVID-19 crisis. 

“Our services remain available for people to use in line with current government advice and we’re determined to maintain our service for those who continue to rely on it most.

"We recognise some older and vulnerable people, who are not yet self-isolating may need to use our service to do their shopping earlier in the day.

"On this basis we have lifted the usual restrictions and extend our thanks to Oxfordshire County Council for supporting this move.”

Chris Coleman, Managing Director at Stagecoach in Oxfordshire said: “Whilst we recognise these are challenging times, we know people rely on our services and we provide a vital lifeline for the elderly and vulnerable customers.

“So, in line with other businesses, such as supermarkets making special allowances for exclusive access to food and services, working in partnership with our local authority, we will be temporarily allowing concessionary bus travel any time of day".