Public transport in Merseyside to be free for all NHS workers

The Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram has today announced that NHS workers will be able to travel on all public transport around Merseyside for free as they battle the coronavirus on the front line.

Steve Rotheram, who has already lifted tolls on the Mersey Tunnels to help frontline workers, has now agreed with transport providers that any NHS staff travelling on buses and Merseyrail trains in our region during the crisis will do so for free.

The announcement, made jointly with transport operators Arriva, Stagecoach and Merseyrail, follows a request direct from the Metro Mayor to the transport operators.

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.

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“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.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram

“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 passas 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.

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“We ask that everybody using the bus maintains a safe two metre distance from each other to ensure they and our drivers remain safe.”

Andy Heath, Managing Director of 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.

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"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.

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