Coronavirus

Free public transport for north's healthcare workers

Healthcare workers can travel on public transport for free from tomorrow

Healthcare workers can travel on public transport for free during the coronavirus crisis.

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said the free travel will begin from tomorrow and will run until the end of June.

Health and social care trust workers should show their work pass to Translink staff to benefit from the scheme.

People working in the private sector, including care homes, can get free travel by showing photographic ID and a letter signed by their employer.

The Department of Health will make the letter available.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Public transport reduced to holiday timetable

Due to the ongoing outbreak, all Translink bus and train services will be operate on a reduced service from Monday.

Routes were already operating on a Saturday timetable.

Services will be cut even further from Monday.

Ms Mallon said the changes come amid government advice to remain at home.

"The timetable changes will ensure continued public transport coverage across Northern Ireland, so that our essential workers can continue to travel at peak times," she said.

"Translink will also have additional capacity on standby for heavier used services to facilitate and accommodate social distancing."

Minister for Infrastructure Nichola Mallon

She warned people not to sit beside other passengers and said all services would operate at 50% capacity.

“The advice must be followed to allow two metres of distance between yourself and all other individuals," she said.

She said the establishment of free travel for healthcare workers was a "small gesture".

"We all need to stay at home and support those who are exposing themselves to risk everyday on our behalf," she said.

She also thanked Translink workers for keeping services running.

"It is as a result of their efforts and selflessness that our public transport services continue to run to allow our key workers to access their workplace and services," she said.

Health minister Robin Swann welcomed the travel scheme.

"It recognises the value of our health and social care workers, and the need to prioritise their travel to and from work at this very challenging time," he said.

Health advice and information on government services is available at:

www.publichealth.hscni.net/news/covid-19-coronavirus

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Coronavirus