ELDERLY people are being given extra help to get their shopping done as public transport in and around York prepares to run reduced timetables.

The number of passengers has dropped dramatically and many companies have shortages of drivers or train crews.

All bus and train companies are concentrating on core services to ensure that essential workers who are not working from home can get to work.

Bus passes for elderly people in York and North Yorkshire can now be used before 9am.

City of York Council deputy leader Cllr Andy D’Agorne and North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for access, announced the news in a joint statement.

It said: “The purpose of the decision is to enable older residents, those who are disabled and their carers, to use their passes for essential journeys and to take advantage of measures like exclusive early morning shopping opportunities being put in place to support them.

“We expect a positive response from bus operators.

“We’re also aware that they, like many businesses, are facing difficult times, so this may go some way towards supporting them.”

From tomorrow (Sunday) all Park & Ride services, used by many commuters, will only run every 15 minutes.

From Monday First York’s No 1, 4, 6 and 66 services will run a Saturday service throughout the week with extra early morning services on Mondays to Friday.

After 8pm, the four services will only operate once an hour.

LNER will introduce a reduced weekday timetable for the East Coast main line on Monday.

Details are available on the company’s website.

It has yet to announce what timetable will run on Saturdays and Sundays.

Transpennine Express, which has been cancelling trains on an ad hoc basis each day after it knows which train crews will be working, will also run a reduced timetable from Monday.

Transdev, which runs the Coastliner buses, will be running Saturday timetables for most of its services during the week from Monday and will continue to serve FERA near Sand Hutton.

National Express will run a reduced service from Monday and urges passengers to check on its website before travelling with it.