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The Epoch Times
The Epoch Times
22 Jul 2023

NextImg:Summer Holiday Travellers Are Warned of Strikes and Delays

Families heading off on their summer holidays are being warned their travel plans could get snarled up by train strikes, heavy traffic, and downpours.

With schools breaking up in England and Wales for the summer on Friday, Saturday is expected to be the busiest day for Brits jetting off abroad this year, according to the travel association ABTA.

The great summer getaway comes at the same time as thousands of railworkers strike, with only half of trains expected in many areas, and no service at all in others. The walkout by members of the Rail, Maritime, and Transport union on Saturday is due to a long-running dispute over pay, jobs, and conditions.

The strike at 14 train companies is expected to see wide variations in services across the country with trains starting later and finishing much earlier than usual. Services are also being disrupted because of a ban on overtime by train drivers in the Aslef union.

The Port of Dover has warned it could take up to two and a half hours to pass through border checks during peak hours.

Meanwhile, the Met office has warned of travel disruption from downpours on Saturday and the risk of thunderstorms on Sunday.

The RAC earlier this week warned that drivers heading to the south west particularly, should prepare for bumper-to-bumper traffic on the M5, where the longest queues are anticipated.

The motoring organisation also noted that breakdowns have been on the rise in step with the rising cost of living.

Members of the train drivers’ union Aslef on the picket line at Euston station, London, on May 12, 2023. (Yui Mok/PA Media)

“We’re seeing an enormous increase in breakdowns this year as drivers dependent on their vehicles for leisure and work contend with cripplingly high prices, leading to some scrimping on car maintenance as a result,” said RAC breakdown spokesperson Rod Dennis in a statement.

According to a statement by ABTA: “Airports in the south east are expecting a very busy weekend with hundreds of thousands of passengers expected to depart from Heathrow and Gatwick, 199,000 from Stansted and 116,000 from Luton.”

The organisation said more than two million UK holidaymakers will head overseas this weekend.

“200,000 are due to depart from Manchester airport, 71,000 from Bristol and although the Scottish schools are well into their summer holidays, many will still be leaving from Scottish airports this weekend with over 100,000 from Glasgow alone,” it said in the statement.

The Port of Dover said Friday was “an extremely popular travel day” and traffic was “moving according to plan.”

By 3.08 p.m., 20,490 passengers had sailed from the Kent port to France. And in an effort to help families travel more easily, children aged 10 and over will be able to enter the UK using eGates across 15 air and rail ports from Monday, the Home Office said.

With passenger volumes expected to return to 2019 levels this summer—and some ports exceeding those volumes—the Border Force expects to see more than 34 million air arrivals coming through UK passport control over the coming months.

The RAC estimates there will be 3.1 million leisure trips on Saturday and 2.5 million on Sunday.

Travellers coming to Britain for the holiday season are likely to be greeted with the drizzle and rain of the English summer for the first two weeks, according to the Met Office. During the second week of August, however, the forecast is for brighter more settled weather.

The UK is seeing poor weather due to the position of a jet stream—which is also pushing high pressure to the south where parts of Europe are seeing a heatwave.

PA Media contributed to this report.