West Yorkshire Combined Authority announces plan to help residents get to vaccination appointments
More buses and bus stops, plus relaxed rules for bus pass holders, are among measures to be introduced to make getting to and from vaccine appointments as easy as possible.
The West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) has announced its Vaccination Transport Plan as the mass vaccination programme gathers pace.
Four larger community vaccination centres for West Yorkshire have been confirmed at Leeds United's Elland Road Stadium, Jacobs Well in Bradford, John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield and at Wakefield’s Spectrum Community Healthcare CIC, together with smaller sites throughout the region.
From Monday, February 8, rules around concessionary travel will be relaxed, as holders of free bus passes will be able to travel free on public transport before 9.30am if they are going to or from a coronavirus vaccination appointment.
Pass holders will be asked to show their appointment letters, texts or emails to the bus driver.
There will be new signs directing people to the main vaccination centres at the nearby bus stations.
Through our A Shot In The Arm campaign, the Yorkshire Evening Post and sister titles across JPIMedia are urging Prime Minister Boris Johnson to deploy the country’s network of 11,000 pharmacies to ensure that every citizen is only a short walk away from a vaccination centre.
Our campaign also requests further reassurance for local communities from the Government and more easy-to-access information on the vaccine programme and its progress.
To help people get to existing vaccination sites, WYCA said there will also be additional and adapted services at the following locations:
Leeds: The Elland Road Park and Ride service will operate with buses at least every 10 minutes between Boar Lane in the city centre and the vaccination centre. A new bus stop close to the centre will be provided.
Huddersfield: An additional half hourly shuttle bus operating between Huddersfield Bus Station, the train station and John Smiths Stadium.
Wakefield: The route of the Wakefield Free City Bus has been altered to serve Spectrum Community Healthcare CIC, providing links every 10 minutes from Wakefield Westgate and Kirkgate rail stations and Wakefield Bus Station.
Cllr Kim Groves, chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority transport committee said: “It is vital that everyone is able to attend their vaccination appointment.
"Many people will travel to their appointment using public transport, and the Combined Authority wants to help them to get to their vaccination appointment safely and on time.
"We need to make this as easy as possible for people, which is why we have relaxed the rule so that concessionary pass holders can travel before 9.30am if they have an early appointment to get a jab.
"We are also providing links between city/ town centres and the community vaccination centres, and our bus and rail operators continue to implement high standards of cleaning and social distancing to ensure journeys are as safe as we can make them.”
WYCA is urging passengers to wait to be invited by the NHS before travelling to the vaccination centres and follow social distancing measures when travelling.