RESTRICTIONS have been lifted regarding concessionary travel on Hampshire buses amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Hampshire County Council (HCC) has announced that as of today (Friday) it will be removing restrictions on using free bus passes before 9.30am.

It means that elderly and disabled people will be able to use their bus pass at any time and comes after a number of supermarkets introduced dedicated early morning shopping hours for vulnerable residents.

The council says it hopes the measures will enable bus users to “make the most” of those dedicated shopping hours.

Councillor Rob Humby, deputy leader of HCC and executive member for economy, transport and environment, said: “We understand these are difficult times for people and we are doing everything we can to help those who need it most.

“I hope that extending the times people can use their free bus passes may go some way in helping them make the most of dedicated early morning shopping hours for the elderly and vulnerable many supermarkets have now put in place.”

On Thursday Stagecoach confirmed it was working with various local authorities across the south, including HCC, to discuss the temporary relaxation of the above restrictions.

A spokesperson for Stagecoach said: “Whilst we recognise these are challenging times, we know people rely on our services and we provide a vital lifeline for the elderly and vulnerable customers.

“So, in line with other businesses, such as supermarkets making special allowances for exclusive access to food and services, working in partnership with our local authorities, we will be temporarily allowing concessionary bus travel any time of day."