Published on : Friday, December 24, 2021
The drivers face travel chaos on the busiest day on the roads today as Brits take five million trips before Christmas Day.
Brits will be caught in “frantic festive Friday” traffic as they embark on trips to spend Christmas with friends and relatives after the Covid-19 rules forced many to miss out on visits 12 months ago.
The research from the RAC and data firm INRIX expects Christmas Eve to be a “frantic festive Friday” – with a massive 5.3 million car journeys made on December 24 alone.
And major roads will be at their busiest between 11 am and 2 pm, according to RAC analysis.
Although demand for rail travel is at around 50 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, thousands of people are travelling by train to spend Christmas with loved ones.
The Christmas Eve rush will be most intense between the A303 at West Solstice Park and the A36, the RAC and INRIX warned.
Boris Johnson said that Christmas could go ahead lockdown free as he reassured panicked Brits they’d be able to spend time with their loved ones. CrossCountry is warning it will run a “very limited service” today and on New Year’s Eve due to strikes by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT).
The firm will not operate any trains on Friday between Aberdeen and Edinburgh; Glasgow Central and Edinburgh; Derby and Nottingham; Leicester and Stansted Airport; Cheltenham Spa and Cardiff Central; Newton Abbot and Paignton; or Plymouth and Penzance.
The hundreds of trains have also been cancelled across Britain due to pandemic-related staff shortages.
There was also disruption today on West Midlands Railway services between Birmingham New Street and Redditch due to a fault with the signalling system.
A similar issue in Hampshire also caused delays on the south coast between Havant and Portsmouth Harbour for those using Great Western Railway, South Western Railway and Southern services.
Some 370 engineering projects are being carried out on the railways in the coming days, which will also disrupt services.
The Heathrow Airport will be cut off from the rail and Tube network on Christmas Day and Boxing Day due to Network Rail and Transport for London doing simultaneous work.
Inrix analyst Bob Pishue has suggested leaving later in the day as roads will begin to clog up during the early afternoons.
He said that the kids out of school and many Brits taking extended time off for the holidays, drivers can expect moderate delays around the UK, but heavier congestion on motorways in and out of the cities.
Leaving later in the day is recommended, as roads will begin to clog up during the early afternoon.”
The AA’s head of roads policy Jack Cousens told that the influence of Omicron is now being felt, so our breakdown stats have stayed reasonably low as people decided to cancel events and not travel.
That said, Thursday and Friday could be busy as people take the decision to see their family others for a shorter period – two to three days as opposed to a week or so.
The rapid surge of Omicron has caused chaos on public transport as major train stations have been eerily quiet as staff shortages cancel trains and cautious workers choose to work from home and avoid public transport.
The train operators have seen a significant drop in passengers following the PM’s work from home order – with Greater Anglia even removing trains from its timetables due to plunging numbers.
Rail passengers have been urged to check train services before they travel amid concerns of disruption caused by surging Covid-19 cases.