Travel information for key workers

We've put together the below information and links to other useful resources to help key workers and those on the front line travel with greater ease during this challenging period. Please continue to follow social distancing guidance whilst making any essential journeys and ensure you wash your hands before and after travelling. Visit Southampton City Council's website for more information on how to keep yourself and others safe.

Public transport information

Following the latest announcements from Government, City Red FirstGroup and Bluestar are now looking at how they can increase their services as more people start to travel, while ensuring that social distancing guidance is adhered to and that capacities on buses remain at a safe level. For information about the steps they are taking and what you can do as a passenger to help keep yourself and others safe, please visit the City Red FirstGroup and Bluestar websites.

For the latest services, click below:

Service updates to benefit key workers

To support key workers, City Red FirstGroup and Bluestar are now accepting each other’s tickets on common sections of routes. This includes all valid passes and smartcards issued by both operators.

Bluestar has increased the frequency of its number 17 service from Weston towards the city centre and Southampton General Hospital. The service is now running every 15 minutes - you can view the full timetable hereThe number 9 service has also been adjusted so that the 7.10am bus from Fawley now starts at 7.05am from Calshot Beach to enable a key worker connection. The full timetable is available here.

City Red FirstGroup is running two buses on its number 6 service for the first journey of the day from Southampton to Hamble and from Hamble to Southampton. This is following feedback from key workers and to provide additional social distancing on busy journeys. You can view the full timetable here.

Both bus operators are continuing to monitor feedback from key workers and welcome any thoughts and suggestions to help you travel with greater ease. Get in touch with City Red FirstGroup or Bluestar to share your input.

Bus passes

Time restrictions on concessionary bus travel have now been lifted until further notice, so bus pass holders can travel on any service across the city before 9am. While the Gateway building remains closed, bus pass applications and renewals can still be processed by going online or by emailing the SmartCities team. You can also call the SmartCities team on 023 8083 2410 between 8am-3pm Monday-Friday.

If you have a long-term disability and are eligible to apply for or renew a bus pass, again you can do this by contacting the SmartCities team using the above details. Please note Disabled Concessionary bus passes cannot be renewed or applied for online.

Rail operators

Visit the websites below for the latest local rail service updates:

Ferry services

Red Funnel is continuing to operate but has reduced the number of sailings on its Vehicle Ferry, while the Red Jet foot passenger has been suspended until further notice. Bluestar has suspended its QuayConnect service as a result until further notice. Visit the Red Funnel website for more information.

Hythe Ferry has also temporarily suspended operations until further notice. For updates, please visit their website.

Visit this page for more traffic and travel updates relating to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). 

Parking update

Southampton City Council has now suspended the enforcement of Permit Parking and long stay Pay and Display Parking (on-street and off-street). The council has also lifted the Permit Parking restrictions on the marked bays in Hollybrook Cemetery. This decision has been taken to support NHS staff and key workers responding to the coronavirus outbreak in the city but remains subject to regular reviews.

Short stay Pay and Display sites (on-street and off-street) with a maximum stay of 2 hours are now being enforced. Civil Enforcement Officers are also continuing to prioritise the enforcement of yellow lines, zig zags, bus stops, taxi ranks, loading bays, disabled bays and electric vehicle charging bays in order to maintain safety and keep the highway clear for emergency services, supply chain deliveries, public transport and other vital users.

With many more residents now staying at home in line with Government guidance, parking in residential areas is busier than normal at this time. We would ask hospital staff to show consideration and avoid parking in these areas where possible. More information about these parking changes is available on this page.

Cycling tips

With limited opportunities to get out and exercise right now, this might be the perfect opportunity to consider getting active on your journey to and from work. Cycling is an efficient and affordable way to get around for everyday journeys, while keeping fit and healthy at this critical time. You can read more about the excellent benefits of cycling here.

Below are some links to useful resources and other information to help get you and your bike on the move. We hope this will inspire you to give cycling a go and discover the many positive benefits it can bring during these difficult times and beyond.

Please do remember that while commuting by bike, you must continue to observe social distancing guidance to keep yourself and others safe. Our cycling app partners Love to Ride have launched a new Ride Healthy website with more tips and advice to help you get started and make sure you ride safely during the coronavirus outbreak - please do check it out.

Bike maintenance tips and local services

Before you get started, it’s a good idea to give your bike a thorough check up – watch our video below on how to perform the all-important 'M' check and make sure your bike is safe to ride. You'll also find more information over on our cycling maintenance page.

Don't forget you can also use our FREE Bike Doctor service - we have now added more Bike Doctor dates to our diary. For a full list of upcoming dates and locations, visit our Events page

Our friends over at Monty’s Bike Hub in Sholing are also available to carry out repairs for key workers in the east of the city and are continuing to sell recycled bikes. You can get in touch with them to find out more. Please continue to observe social distancing guidance while making use of these services. 

Get cycle savvy

For those out of the habit of cycling, we appreciate that confidence may be a potential issue. Watch the video below to help you build your confidence cycling on the roads. Plus make sure you visit our Cycle Savvy and Cycling Safety pages for more helpful tips and advice including how to plan a route. It’s also well worth checking out our page about the Southampton Cycle Network. As new dedicated cycle routes continue to be developed across the city, it’s now easier and safer than ever before to get from A to B by bike.


Transport offers for key workers

If you don’t have a bike and are considering purchasing one, many bike shops around the city are continuing to remain open and will be able to offer advice and assistance. Sustrans have created an interactive map showcasing open bike stores in your local area, as well as offers and discounts for key workers. This includes details of free Cycling UK membership, which you can find out more about here.

Here are some other great offers you can take advantage of locally:

  • DC Cycles is offering a free helmet, jacket and lights to all key workers with any set service worked. You can call them on 023 8184 5996 to find out more and book a service.
  • The Hub Cycleworks' supplier Sportline is providing a free care package including a commuter jacket, set of lights and a Madison Helmet with every free check and tune bike service from The Hub. Email The Hub to make a booking and find out more.
  • The Hub Cycleworks is also loaning a selection of Pashley Pronto and Trek bikes to NHS workers for free. There is a limited number of bikes left - contact them directly to make sure you don't miss out.

Big Bike Revival offers

We're delighted to be supporting Cycling UK's 'Big Bike Revival for key workers' by providing additional funding to boost the scheme in Southampton. Together with Cycling UK, we're funding the following organisations to provide a range of services that will help key workers cycling to access their roles on the frontline: 

  • The Hub Cycle Works, bike workshop based in Shirley – The Hub is offering 40 essential workers a free check and tune service - worth £50 - through the Big Bike Revival for Key Workers scheme, in addition to its existing free hire of loan bikes for NHS staff. Click here to sign up for this service. 
  • RideRide, bicycle workshop based in Bitterne Park – offering around 50 free bike repairs and checks to key workers on proof of occupation. Bikes can be collected by van and dropped off after repair at home or other suitable location. Click here to sign up this service. 
  • Monty’s Bike Hub, social enterprise based in Sholing – Monty’s is offering free services to key workers on proof of occupation, with a pick-up and drop off service available. Monty’s are also offering discounted bikes with free accessories to a limited number of key workers on a come first served first basis. In addition, Monty’s can provide online repair advice via video call and bespoke journey planning to help workers choose the best route to work. Click here to get in touch with them directly. 
  • Re-cycle Bikes (Society of St. James) is providing support for up to 20 key workers from its partner agencies to receive either a free bike and accessories, or a free service to keep them cycling. If you are interested, please email

Walking information

You can now exercise outdoors as often as you wish and no longer need to remain local to do so. If you're looking for new walks in your local area and further afield, the Go Jauntly app is a useful starting point. It's available to download for free from Google Play and the App Store and provides an inspiring selection of walks in Hampshire and beyond. Please remember to follow social distancing guidance while walking, wash your hands before and after walking and walk in maximum groups of two (unless with members of your own household).