Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region has announced that NHS staff will be able to travel for free on buses and Merseyrail trains across the city region.
Announcing the move, Mayor Rotheram said:
“We want to do everything we can to support our frontline NHS workers as they bravely battle the Coronavirus, so I’m very pleased that today Arriva, Stagecoach and Merseyrail have responded to my call and agreed to provide free transport for our NHS heroes.
“This is the latest transport measure the Combined Authority and transport operators have been able to bring forward to support use of our transport network for essential journeys, including the temporary suspension of Mersey Tunnel tolls and relaxing the rules on concessionary travel for those who absolutely have to travel for medicines and other essential items.
“The advice of course remains that people should only travel if absolutely necessary during this period of lockdown.”
NHS staff will be able to travel for free on production of a valid NHS photo staff pass as they board the bus, at Merseyrail stations or on Merseyrail trains. It will come in to effect from this Friday 10 April.
Area Managing Director for Arriva Merseyside, on behalf of the Liverpool City Region Bus Alliance, Howard Farrall said:
“We’re pleased at this decision to allow NHS staff to travel for free across the Liverpool City Region, and the Bus Alliance is incredibly proud to be a part of this.
“We ask that everybody using the bus maintains a safe 2 metre distance from each other to ensure they and our drivers remain safe.”
Andy Heath, Managing Director at Merseyrail, said:
“NHS workers are doing an incredible job battling COVID-19 so we are delighted to be able to support them by offering free travel to and from work on our train services.
“As we are running a reduced timetable due to the pandemic, we encourage passengers to check our website and social media for more information.
“We’d like to remind passengers that our trains are for key workers and those making essential journeys only. Please stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.”
The move has been made possible as a condition of operators continuing to receive payments made under the concessionary travel scheme, under which the number of journeys has plummeted as people adhere to the rules, stay home and make only absolutely essential journeys.
The period of free travel will be kept under review alongside other temporary transport measures implemented in response to the coronavirus crisis and during the period of lockdown.