An ELLESMERE bus company is offering all NHS workers free travel as a way to show its support and appreciation as they battle the coronavirus outbreak.

Lakeside Coaches has extended the offer to all NHS workers, who will receive free travel on all of the bus company’s routes, as well as opening up a new bus route to assist the workers.

Also in a bid to assist NHS staff, local shop and key workers, Lakeside is operating a short term daily service at 8am from Ellesmere to Oswestry and an 8.30am service from Oswestry to Ellesmere on the normal route via the Orthopaedic Hospital free of charge.

Neal Hall, managing director of Lakeside Coaches, said the idea was easy to come up with.

“As a local family-orientated company, we are doing our very best to ensure the safety of our staff and customers, while trying to maintain a regular and reliable service,” he said.

“While some of our services receive no subsidies, we feel it is still vitally important to keep operating a regular service through to Oswestry via the Orthopaedic Hospital and to Shrewsbury, where onward transport is available to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.

“Although well over 80 per cent of our main coach fleet has been mothballed and the local services are running at a loss, we still wanted to show our support to all the NHS staff and show them that we are behind them and offer this as appreciation of their efforts.”

The move to provide NHS with this support comes soon after the company, which has a presence right across north Shropshire and in Shrewsbury, as well as providing coach travel all over the north, also helped another set of key workers out.

He added: “We are also working closely with the Lakelands School, delivering school meals and also the community council, offering local companies and the community our services in genuine circumstances.”

The company has also noted that their services, the 499 Ellesmere to Oswestry, the 501 Ellesmere to Shrewsbury, the 208 Ellesmere town service, the 201 Wem town service and the 205 Whitchurch town service are all running as normal to the usual timetable.