CONCERNS have been raised that passengers are flouting transport rules by not wearing masks on board trains.

Reports have surfaced that a number of passengers on routes between Barrow and Manchester are choosing not to adhere to mask-wearing guidelines.

Currently, it is mandatory to wear a mask on all forms of public transport and those flouting the rules could face a fine of up to £100.

A spokesman for British Transport Police said: "Our approach is to always begin by engaging with the public and explain the reasons why the protections are necessary and a lawful requirement.

“Since face coverings became mandatory on public transport our officers have spoken with thousands of passengers, encouraging them to wear face coverings whilst travelling.

"The overwhelming majority of people have listened, complied, and continued to play an important role in protecting other passengers and rail staff – we have seen compliance levels of around 97 per cent.

"In those cases where people have refused to comply with the requirement, and they don’t have a valid exemption or reasonable excuse, officers have taken action by refusing entry to trains, directing passengers to leave services, and as a last resort, issuing fixed penalty notices.”

However, Robert Parker, spokesman for Furness Line Action Group (FLAG) said it is 'understandable' why passengers choose not to wear masks for long train journeys.

He said: "I can understand why people don't want to wear masks especially for long journeys on transport as they are very uncomfortable.

"The journey from Barrow to Manchester is two and a half hours so I can understand why some people would feel uncomfortable wearing a mask for that length of time.

"Masks are a good idea in theory but practically, they don't really work.

"If people are deliberately flouting the rules, then that is not acceptable. It's a hard rule to enforce and the only way it could be enforced if British Transport Police were on board trains. It will be a long time before public transport returns to normality."