Christmas journey measures to assist passengers plan their journey and journey safely
- The government is outlining measures for safe Christmas travel between December 23rd and 27th
- The Secretary of Transportation announces that 778 miles of road works have been cleared
- Rail upgrades postponed to allow additional services with over 95% of the rail network unaffected by engineering work
- In addition to waiving administrative fees for changing train tickets, longer trains and additional services have been added
- Passengers are asked to plan carefully, book in advance, and follow directions if they choose to travel
The government today (December 3, 2020) outlined a number of measures aimed at minimizing disruption and helping people travel safely over the Christmas period. At the same time, they urge passengers to carefully plan their trips, consider quieter routes and, if possible, book in advance.
Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps has announced a comprehensive plan for the Christmas travel window between December 23rd and 27th that will include lifting hundreds of kilometers of road works, improving rail traffic, postponing and accelerating rail construction works, and lowering ticket fees to help travelers to help her travels.
The government is also working closely with transportation companies to identify priority areas for worker screening in order to maintain and maximize services.
Since roads and rails have typically been quieter as the pandemic progressed, journeys during the Christmas season can be longer and busier than usual. The measures to be outlined today are aimed at supporting the safety of passengers and staff, reducing disruption where possible, and helping people travel with confidence.
Travelers are also reminded to follow instructions carefully, including wearing face covering, maintaining social distance, and washing hands frequently.
Christmas travel arrangements help passengers plan their trip and travel safely
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
As many people carefully consider traveling for Christmas to see loved ones, we are taking steps to make travel easier.
By clearing 778 miles of road works and postponing rail upgrade work, traffic jams will be reduced, disruption minimized and additional services performed.
This action is supported by the elimination of the administration fees for changing tickets in advance, ensuring a strong presence of staff to help people on their way. And I asked former Olympics chief of transportation and Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy to work with the transportation companies to conduct a rigorous assessment to ensure that everything is being done to help.
We partner with transportation companies to help people see their loved ones safely. We ask everyone to think carefully about their trip, plan and book in advance, be patient and considerate of fellow travelers – and especially staff who have worked so hard all year round – by carefully following the instructions , including holding a seat and wearing a face covering public transport.
The government is also working with the decentralized administrations on our plans to ensure that we have a concerted approach as much as possible.
The measures described today on the rails include:
The government waived the change in travel management fees for pre-selling tickets before new COVID levels were announced on November 26th. This allows for toll-free changes and ensures that passengers will not be left out of their pockets in order to comply with the new COVID restrictions.
Longer trains operate on the Anglo-Scotland and Liverpool routes to increase the number of seats on the West Coast Main Line during expected peak hours. The Chiltern Railway will offer additional services on December 27th and the East Midlands Railway will offer a full intercity timetable over the Christmas period.
Over 95% of the rail network remains unaffected by engineering work. Network Rail has changed its plans and work on the East Coast Main Line will be postponed at the end of the service, allowing additional connections to and from King Cross on Christmas Eve. Work on the West Coast Main Line will also be completed on December 27th to provide full Sunday service from 10am instead of noon and to make it easier for passengers to return from their Christmas bubbles.
Rail construction work such as the East Coast upgrade is planned for 2 years. If this work is canceled or delayed, the punctuality, safety and reliability benefits will be postponed for up to 2 years. There will be significant additional road capacity where demand is greatest.
The road measures described today include:
Another 288 miles of maintenance will be removed and a total of 778 miles of highway and A-road road works will now be cleared.
When critical road works need to continue, speed limits are set at 100 km / h whenever possible, including on major routes like the M6 and M1, to keep disruption to a minimum.
Ministers have written to all local authorities asking them to stop as much of the road works as possible and to ensure that bus services are reliable throughout the period in order to facilitate traffic on local roads.
The ministers have also written to all local authorities to prepare for winter. Around 70% confirm that they will change the litter routes to make sure the test centers are covered.
The government appointed Sir Peter Hendy – chairman of Network Rail – as Christmas travel tsar on Friday. By closely examining the plans of all rail, road, bus, sea and air carriers, he will ensure a common focus across the transportation industry on minimizing disruption and helping passengers.
Sir Peter Hendy said:
During the pandemic, the transportation industry was united in its efforts to keep passengers and staff safe. We need to make sure that the common focus continues at this important time.
The measures announced today will help reduce congestion, increase capacity and minimize disruption for travelers. I will continue to work closely with all operators and make recommendations that will help people get home safely for Christmas.
Travelers are encouraged to carefully consider the timing of each trip and consider quieter routes.
For train and bus connections, passengers should book in advance. Long-distance carriers, including LNER and Avanti West Coast, are already requiring passengers to book a ticket with a seat reservation to enable social distancing.
For operators where passengers can still show up and leave, passengers are encouraged to book in advance, strictly follow social distancing guidelines, avoid the busiest times, and consider alternative modes of transport for shorter trips.
Regardless of the trip, participants are asked to plan carefully, book in advance if possible, and prepare for trips to be longer than normal.