Working in partnership with bus operators and the Tees Valley Combined Authority, concessionary pass holders will be able to travel anywhere in the borough, and the wider Tees Valley, for just 30p before 9.30am.
Until now, concessionary bus pass holders could not benefit from their pass until after 9.30am – the time set by the Government for standard coverage to start - and had to pay full price to travel before that time.
Under the enhanced offer, the flat fare of 30p will start each day from the first service offered until 9.30am. Travel with a concessionary bus pass is free between the hours of 9.30am and 11pm Monday to Friday and all day on weekends and bank holidays.
The move brings Darlington into line with the rest of the Tees Valley, where a deal was already in place for pre-9.30am travel.
Councillor Andy Keir, cabinet member for local services, said: “Concessionary bus passholders have been asking for the introduction of a flat fare before 9.30am for years and I’m delighted that, with TVCA’s support, we’ve been able to make that happen.
“Passengers tell us that they often need to travel early morning to access healthcare appointments, as well as for work and childcare needs, and this funding will allow them to do that in an affordable manner.
“This new arrangement makes Darlington passengers the same as everyone else across the Tees Valley and will hopefully mean more people can access public transport.”
The new flat fare concessionary scheme will begin on Friday, July 1.
Concessionary passes are those available to people of pension age or who meet the national criteria for a travel disability.
For more information on the concessionary bus pass scheme, or to apply for a pass, visit www.darlington.gov.uk/bus-pass