Tour operators are preparing for a “surge” in UK travel over the five-day holiday season.
The four UK states have agreed on the temporary easing that will allow three households to mingle in a temporary bubble from December 23-27.
And now that families have been given freedom from coronavirus restrictions to create festive bubbles, trains, roads and coaches are expected to be busier, PA reports.
The bus operator National Express is planning to expand its services in order to meet the demand in the run-up to the festivities.
Chris Hardy, General Manager of National Express UK Coach, said, “This is still a very limited network, equivalent to about 20% of our normal services with a focus on major cities and airports.
“However, as England moves into regional levels, students will be encouraged to go home during the set travel window and a guide will be published on what we can do over Christmas. We expect the demand for travel to increase in December.
“We are expanding our services in early December and later in the month as we approach Christmas.
“All decisions are made in consultation with the Ministry of Transport (DfT) on the requirement for a national bus network to keep the country moving safely.”
The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has announced that it will expect an “increase” in passengers over the five days.
Secretary General Mick Cash said: “RMT supports the railroad in playing its role in ensuring that people can see their loved ones at Christmas and I will urgently hold discussions with all railroad companies and the government to ensure that this is carefully and properly planned will protect the safety of workers and passengers. “
The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), a body working for the rail industry, said that while there were “no concerns” about overcrowding of rail cars, thousands of services are expected daily to accommodate more passengers.
Robert Nisbet, Director of the Organization’s Nations and Regions, said: “The railroad companies are working with the government to ensure that passengers can travel safely during the festive season and that thousands of services continue daily until and after Christmas.
“You can find the latest information on the train operators’ websites. We ask staff to book in advance to avoid peak hours and to check before departure.
“With our Safer Travel Promise, we’re cleaning more often and providing better travel information. We ask people to help others by washing their hands regularly and wearing face-covering, unless otherwise specified.”
Concerns about overcrowding were raised after it was announced that Network Rail’s engineering work would take place between December 23 and January 4.
Most of the railroad will remain open, but some lines will be closed to allow work to take place.
London King’s Cross Station will be closed for six days from Christmas as the East Coast Main Line continues to be upgraded for £ 1.2 billion.
The London North Eastern Railway has warned that “alternative routes are likely to be very busy and should also be avoided”.
However, the AA said it was not “overly concerned” that traffic jams might occur on roads, suggesting that many families had canceled plans to have Christmas together.
Edmund King, AA President, said, “Two-fifths of drivers who had already canceled festive travel plans may have been concerned about the risk to their loved ones – or perhaps secretly happy to avoid visiting their in-laws.”