RESIDENTS living in the more deprived areas of West Yorkshire were less likely to be able to work from home during lockdown - a new survey has found.

The survey of 2,000 public transport users in the region found that just 50 per cent of people living in more deprived areas of West Yorkshire had been able to work from home.

This compared to 78 per cent in more affluent areas.

Of those that did leave home for work, many considered ways to avoid the public transport they usually relied on.

During much of the lockdown period, bus services have been drastically reduced, and social distancing has meant capacity is still nowhere near what it was on the bus network pre-lockdown.

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This left those who still needed to travel to work having to re-consider their transport options.

The survey found that 12 per cent of people in deprived areas considered buying a car, and 11 per cent considered buying a bike.

In the more affluent areas just four per cent considered buying a car and eight per cent a bike.

The survey was carried out by West Yorkshire Combined Authority in June, after non-essential shops re-opened, but before pubs, bars, cafes, restaurants, hairdressers and places of worship reopened.

Many of the people surveyed said they intended to walk or cycle more due to lockdown.

While the temptation to use the car was still strong, with 31 per cent of respondents saying they expected to travel by car or van more in the coming weeks, many are choosing other options instead.

31 per cent said they would cycle more now, and a 37 per cent declared they would travel on foot more often.

The majority of those who cycled (73 per cent) and walked (61 per cent) more than before lockdown said it was a positive experience.

45 per cent said quieter or safer roads and 16 per cent said less pollution and/or noise were positive aspects of walking, running or cycling.

While the rise in cycling and walking was mostly for exercise or recreation, for many it was an alternative to public transport (40 per cent walking, 28 per cent cycling) with 59 per cent of walkers saying they would be willing to walk up to half an hour, and 78 per cent of cyclists willing to cycle for 30-60 minutes.

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the Combined Authority, said: "We have seen large numbers of public transport users switching to other ways of getting about because of the COVID-19 changes to our way of life, including a big increase in walking and cycling both for work and leisure.

“Pre-lockdown, the Combined Authority had made a significant investment in improving cycling and walking routes across our region and promoting these as an option for work and leisure.

“Our transport survey has also shown a clear divide between the most and least affluent in our region, with people living in the most disadvantaged areas far less likely to be able to work from home and considering alternative modes of transport as a result."