DRIVERS face the chaos of motorway travel today as Britons are expected to make five MILLION trips before Christmas Day.
Brits will be caught in ‘Frenzied Festive Friday’ traffic as they embark on trips to spend Christmas with friends and relatives after Covid rules forced many to miss tours 12 years ago month.
Research from RAC and data firm INRIX expects Christmas Eve to be a “frenzied festive Friday” – with 5.3 million car trips made on December 24 alone.
And major roads will be the busiest between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., according to RAC’s analysis.
Although demand for train travel is around 50% of pre-pandemic levels, thousands of people are traveling by train to spend Christmas with their loved ones.
The Christmas Eve rush will be most intense between the A303 at West Solstice Park and the A36, RAC and INRIX have warned.
Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that Christmas could go on without lockdown as he reassured panicked Britons that they could spend time with loved ones.
CrossCountry warns it will offer “very limited service” today and on New Years Eve due to strikes by members of the Railways, Maritime and Transportation (RMT) union.
The company will not operate any trains between Aberdeen and Edinburgh on Friday; Glasgow Central and Edinburgh; Derby and Nottingham; Leicester and Stansted Airport; Cheltenham Spa and Cardiff Central; Newton Abbot and Paignton; or Plymouth and Penzance.
Hundreds of trains have also been canceled across Britain due to staff shortages linked to the pandemic.
There were also disruptions today on West Midlands Railway services between Birmingham New Street and Redditch due to an issue with the signaling system.
A similar problem in Hampshire has also caused delays on the south coast between Havant and Portsmouth harbor for those using the Great Western Railway, South Western Railway and Southern services.
Some 370 engineering projects are underway on the railways in the coming days, which will also disrupt services.
Heathrow Airport will be cut off from the rail and tube network on Christmas Day and Boxing Day due to the simultaneous work of Network Rail and Transport for London.
Inrix analyst Bob Pishue has suggested leaving later today as the roads will start to become blocked by early afternoon.
He said: “With children out of school and many Britons taking extended holidays, drivers can expect moderate delays in the UK, but more congestion on the motorways inside and outside of cities.
“It is recommended to leave later in the day, as the roads will start to become blocked by the beginning of the afternoon.”
AA Road Policy Officer Jack Cousens told The Sun: “Omicron’s influence is now being felt, so our outage statistics have remained reasonably low as people have decided to cancel events. and not to travel.
“That said, Thursday and Friday could be busy as people make the decision to see their families for a shorter period – two to three days instead of a week or so.”
Omicron’s rapid boom has wreaked havoc 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 transport. in common.
Rail operators have seen a significant drop in passenger numbers following the Prime Minister’s door-to-door order – with Greater Anglia even removing trains from its schedules due to falling numbers.
Rail passengers have been urged to check train services before traveling amid concerns over disruption caused by the surge in Covid cases.