More buses needed across West Yorkshire to maintain social distancing

Members of the public are being urged avoid using buses unless their journey is essential Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Senior councillors say more buses will be needed across West Yorkshire later this year in order to maintain social distancing.

The number of services on the roads is increasing from this week, as lockdown measures are gradually being relaxed and commuters return to work.

Double decker buses will carry a maximum of 24 passengers Credit: ITV Yorkshire

But councillors are calling for more long-term planning as they say government cash allowing operators to put more buses on routes, will run out in 12 weeks.

Leeds councillor Kim Groves, chairwoman of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority's (WYCA) transport committee, explained:

"It is important to remember that the support being made available by the government is only designed to restore bus capacity lost during the first phase of the pandemic.

Leeds councillor Kim Groves

West Yorkshire's five local authorities say they are working to relieve pressures on public transport by setting aside more road space for cyclists and pedestrians.

Despite more bus services becoming available this week, the public is being urged only to use them if their journey is essential.

A new policy is limiting the number of passengers on buses in across south and west Yorkshire Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Local politicians calling on the government to give funds for bus services to West Yorkshire Combined Authority, rather than to the bus operators.

Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake said:

"Sadly the government is prioritising short-term relief for the bus industry's strained finances over a long-term managed approach which would help public transport recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake

A new policy limiting the number of passengers on buses across south and west Yorkshire was introduced at the beginning of this month.