A temporary relaxation of concessionary travel arrangements in Suffolk will end next month to help bus companies manage social distancing


As more people return to work, public transport operators face the challenge of meeting this extra demand and ensuring adherence to Government guidance.

Published on 19 June 2020.

Passenger numbers are highest at the beginning and end of the day, so people who need to make essential journey for shopping, care or health reasons are being encouraged to travel after 9.30am when buses are currently quieter.

Suffolk County Council and bus operators in the county have agreed to end the temporary relaxation of concessionary travel rules from Monday 6 July 2020.

The relaxation was introduced across Suffolk in late March and allowed those with concessionary passes to travel on buses for free before 9:30am. The aim was to provide more flexibility for older people and those with disabilities to visit supermarkets during the lockdown.

Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Rural Affairs, said:

“Now that more people are returning to their workplaces and children are going back to school, it is important that we take steps across the county to protect passengers. It is vital we help bus operators balance the need to get people to work and children to school, while maintaining social distancing and adhering to Government guidelines, so this means staggering the times when passengers travel.

“The relaxation of the concessionary travel scheme was a temporary measure to address the situation at the time. The situation has changed, and we are now facing a new set of challenges. Therefore, I urge people to only use public buses for essential journeys and to travel after 9:30am where possible.”

From Monday 6th July concessionary bus passes in Suffolk will only be valid Monday to Fridays 9.30am to 11pm, and all day on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays. Also, all passengers are now required to wear a face covering on public transport. For more information about concessionary travel in Suffolk, visit suffolkonboard.com

To find out more about the support on offer during the pandemic, visit suffolk.gov.uk

An alternative travel option for elderly and vulnerable passengers is the county’s Connecting Communities demand responsive services which operates Monday to Friday 7am to 7pm. Further details can be found at communities.suffolkonboard.com or by calling 0345 606 6171.