Pensioners and disabled passengers who are members of the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme can now use their local train service for free before 9.30am after West Midlands Railway lifted ticket restrictions.

With many supermarkets across the region reserving the first hour of the day for vulnerable shoppers, the rail operator is playing its part by allowing pass holders to travel for free at any time.

The move comes as West Midlands Railway begins running a revised timetable from today (Monday 23 March) in response to the coronavirus epidemic.

From today, just over half the usual number of trains will operate on the routes served by WMR and sister company London Northwestern Railway.

Jonny Wiseman, customer experience director for West Midlands Railway, said: “Although demand for rail travel has significantly dropped following the government recommendation to only travel if necessary, we know that some vulnerable passengers will rely on our services to keep moving.

“With supermarkets now inviting elderly and disabled customers to visit their stores at opening time, we are playing our part by lifting the 9.30am restriction for concessionary pass holders at a time when commuter numbers are low.

“I would remind passengers who do need to travel to check their journeys before setting out as we are now operating a reduced timetable until further notice.”

Concessionary pass holders do not need a new pass to travel for free before 9.30am and can simply show their usual pass if requested.

For the latest information on travelling during the coronavirus pandemic and to see the new, reduced timetable, visit www.wmr.uk/coronavirus or for live travel information see www.wmr.uk/plan