Mass-goers trying to get away for the Easter weekend have been warned they could face disruption whether traveling by air, rail, land or sea.
Employee sickness and shortages have caused days of chaos for airline passengers, with airlines canceling dozens of flights at short notice, while ferry operators struggling to meet demand as P&O Ferries services remain suspended.
Travelers have been told they face bank holiday delays and may even have trouble reaching their destination, no matter how they travel, amid the road network iron is widely closed and a “massive increase” in motorway vehicles is predicted.
Easter weekend is the first public holiday since the lifting of most Covid travel restrictions, and traditionally a sign of the start of a busier spring and summer.
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said in an interview with the BBC that it would be “extremely busy on our routes, possibly at our ports, especially at Dover”.
Network Rail, which owns and operates UK rail lines, has advised passengers to travel side-by-side over the long weekend as they are shutting down parts of the system for technical work. .
Trains running on the west coast main line, linking London to Scotland, will start and end at Milton Keynes from Friday 15 to Monday 18 April, while Euston station in north London will also close door.
Portions of the rail line between Birmingham International and Coventry stations will also be closed, as will lines around Crewe station.
The rail closures will affect tens of thousands of Liverpool and Manchester City football fans who come to Wembley Stadium in London to watch their teams play in the FA Cup semi-final. About 90,000 people are expected, but the FA has advised ticket holders not to take the train from the northwest.
The Football Association says it has chartered 100 buses from Anfield and Etihad Stadium to transport up to 5,000 supporters from each club. A spokesman said there were still about 2,000 seats on the bus for Liverpool supporters.
The chairman of Network Rail, Sir Peter Hendy, recently told MPs on the parliament’s transport selection committee that the FA had scheduled men’s and women’s trains in the capital, despite warnings several times about railway closures.
“Network Rail told the FA in 2019 that we would close the west coast mainline, but they appear to have arranged a football match between Manchester and Liverpool at Wembley on a date we have announced. effective for the world on a two-year closure. ,” said Hendy.
Airline passengers have had to queue in terminals to deal with security in recent weeks, while thousands of travelers flying from Manchester Airport have missed their flights. It comes after a spike in passenger traffic coupled with a high rate of employee layoffs in Covid, and a greater shortage of workers after many were laid off during the pandemic.
Manchester Airport has warned passengers they will continue to wait up to 90 minutes to go through security, while some disruption is also expected for flights from Birmingham, as well as Heathrow and Gatwick.
“I would be surprised if there were no further difficulties,” said Wayne King, regional coordinator at Unite union. “Anytime there’s a school holiday, it’s going to be peak because there’s no staff.”
Shapps said he is concerned that airlines and airport and airport operators need to “make sure they come back strong and fast” after large-scale redundancies during the Covid crisis. “We warned them a long time ago that they would need to retool.”
Travelers may also have more difficulty getting to the airport. The Piccadilly line on the London Underground will not serve any Heathrow stations over the weekend, while fewer trains will stop at Gatwick due to station work.
Pressure on cross-Channel ferry operators at Dover and Eurotunnel services is unlikely to ease over the weekend, after another P&O Ferries was seized on Wednesday, following the The surveyor identified “several deficiencies”.
Two of the P&O’s Dover ships, which usually make five trips a day to Calais, are being investigated by the Coast Guard and Maritime Authority.
People and businesses in Kent had to queue for kilometers and holidaymakers hoping to cross the Channel have caused congestion for people and businesses in Kent.
Motorists in other parts of the country may also face traffic jams on weekends. RAC estimates motorists will make more than 21 million recreational journeys this weekend, which RAC estimates is the highest number for the Easter holiday since the start of the tracking program. scheduled for 2014. The Driving Organization predicts Good Friday will be the busiest weekend.
“We expect to see a massive increase in traffic and delays around airports and motorways. Last weekend, many drivers tried to get ahead and we saw a 27% increase in mileage driving on Waze compared to pre-Covid driving levels,” said Ru Roberts, Waze navigation app manager in the UK. UK said.
Roberts added that traffic could also be affected by motorists looking for competitively priced fuel or prior time unaffected by delivery disruptions caused by Just Stop Oil protesters, who who blockaded the oil terminals.