SOCIAL-distancing measures could see some people – even key workers – struggle to access public transport.

The stark warning was given at a meeting, held online, of a county transport body.

Members of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority transport committee heard that until now the bus and rail system had coped with the coronavirus restrictions requiring people to keep two metres apart, because numbers using services had plummeted.

But passenger figures will rise as more people, unable to work from home and without their own transport, return to the workplace.

And although increased numbers of buses and trains are being provided, there are fears over capacity.

The meeting was told that with limits being placed on passenger numbers, as few as 19 people – for example – could be allowed on a double-decker bus at any one time.

Dave Pearson, the combined authority’s director of transport services, said Northern Rail was upping its service provision and that by the beginning of next month 70 or even 80 per cent of normal bus journeys would be operating.

However, changes were being made to ensure compliance with social-distancing requirements.

“We expect buses and trains to get busier – and that creates challenges and real risks that people could be left at bus stops or at rail stations,” said Mr Pearson.

Pete Myers, from Northern Rail, warned that the capacity of its trains would be considerably reduced.

People are being asked to consider whether their journey is necessary and the time of day they travel.

Those who do need to travel are being encouraged to pay by contactless, wear a face covering where possible and wash their hands before and after their journey.

Committee chairman Councillor Kim Groves said: “We are working with partner councils, operators and others to make sure the transport network is as safe and resilient as possible and we are asking people to help by considering how and when they travel to ensure capacity is there for those who need it. There is no hiding the fact that as the number of people travelling increases, that will pose significant challenges. We know that for many people, public transport is the only way they can get to and from work.”