THE start time for bus passes will become valid again across Hampshire next week, say transport chiefs

Passes will be valid from 9.30am once more as people begin the return to work.

Concessionary travel times for older and disabled people to travel free on Hampshire’s buses will revert to the normal 9.30am start from Monday.

It comes as coronavirus restrictions ease and non-essential retailers reopen their doors to shoppers.

According to the county council, the bus passes will help manage demand on public transport with new social distancing measures in place.

Councillor Rob Humby, inset, deputy leader and executive member for economy, transport and environment at Hampshire County Council said: “As the country eases out of travel restrictions set in March to prevent the spread of coronavirus, we can expect busy travel times to start to get back to more traditional peak periods.

“With capacity on public transport limited due to social distancing requirements.

“It seems the right time to revert to the usual operating hours for bus passes, helping to ensure space on buses earlier in the mornings for those going to work.”

“I’d like to thank Hampshire’s bus operators for making the changes needed so quickly in March which allowed older people to travel for free when they could access supermarkets at quieter times, keeping themselves as safe as possible from the spread of COVID-19.”

Restrictions on times older people could use their bus passes were first lifted on March 20 to enable travel to supermarkets earlier in the day and access dedicated shopping hours while national travel restrictions on all but essential travel were in place.

Older persons concessionary bus passes are available for people who have reached state pension age.

It entitles people to free travel on bus services throughout England from 9.30am to 11pm Monday to Friday and all day at weekends and on public holidays.