Car traffic levels have continued to increase in Scotland but statistics indicate the rise mainly involved local trips during lockdown.

The Scottish Government’s weekly transport trends data shows a 5% increase in traffic for May 18-24 compared to the previous week.

It is around 45% higher than the lockdown baseline recorded on March 30 to April 5 – the second week of the stay at home restrictions being in place in Scotland.

Public transport use has also remained low, with rail journeys down 55% against the baseline despite a 3% week-on-week increase in concessionary bus travel for those aged over 70.

Cycling (35%), ferry (30%) and walking (10%) journeys were also up against the standard set for lockdown.

The overall trip rate of 1.3 has fallen slightly compared to 1.4 last week – largely accounted for by a decrease in walking in the data – but is still higher than the 1.2 recorded at the start of the month.

Earlier this week, Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said people should wear face coverings when travelling on public transport as the lockdown measures are gradually eased.

Responding to the figures released on Friday, he said: “Our latest transport data shows that the majority of people in Scotland are continuing to follow Government guidance and limit travel for essential journeys only.

“I would once again like to thank everyone who is playing their part to help the NHS, from our public transport workers who continue to keep the country moving to those ensuring they only make necessary trips.

“The week-on-week average daily trip rate has shown a slight fall to 1.3 trips per day, largely accounted for by a decrease in walking due to the poorer weather conditions.

“Car use has increased, however, data shows this is mainly for local trips.”

The May 25 bank holiday did not show any notable increase and traffic levels were in fact lower than the previous Monday.

Mr Matheson added: “This week in Parliament I outlined our transport transition plan which advises passengers about when and how to safely access public transport through good hand hygiene, respecting physical distancing, using face coverings and avoiding busier times.

“While working from home where possible remains the default for now, it is important that businesses and transport users alike familiarise themselves with the guidance as we begin the move to ease lockdown.”