These are the changes to bus passes and timetables in Harrogate as passenger numbers drop drastically

Restrictions on bus passes in Harrogate have been relaxed to help users take advantage of early morning shopping opportunities and reach vital medical appointments.

By Jacob Webster
Monday, 23rd March 2020, 3:36 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd March 2020, 3:38 pm

North Yorkshire County Council has made changes to its National Concessionary Travel Scheme so pass holders can use services before 9am. Usually, passes cannot be used between 6am and 9am.

And from today, Monday, The Harrogate Bus Company is running a reduced timetable. It is also offering free travel to volunteers who are supporting those living in isolation.

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Restrictions on bus passes in Harrogate have been relaxed to help users take advantage of early morning shopping opportunities and reach vital medical appointments.

However, passenger numbers are expected to drop drastically after the government told 1.5 million people - identified as the most vulnerable in England - to stay at home for 12 weeks in a bid to save their lives during the coronavirus crisis.

People are also being told to avoid all but essential travel.

Coun Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire County Council's executive member for access said: "The purpose of the decision is to enable older residents, those who are disabled and their carers, to use their passes for essential journeys and to take advantage of measures like exclusive early morning shopping opportunities being put in place to support them.

“We expect a positive response from bus operators. We’re also aware that they, like many businesses, are facing difficult times, so this may go some way towards supporting them.”

The Harrogate Bus Company is now running to a Saturday timetable on most of its services from Monday to Saturday, and normal Sunday timetables on Sundays.

Its CEO Alex Hornby said: "We’re all now living in an unprecedented time and I’m grateful for everything each member of the team here is doing to help keep buses on the road for people who need them.

"We’ve been running all our buses as normal until now but as we see less people travelling and pressure on staffing increases, we have made the decision to change to Saturday times going forward."

For the full list of timetable changes visit www.transdevbus.co.uk/harrogate/

More information on North Yorkshire County Council services can be found at https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-service-disruption

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter