Surge in travel within England after stay at home rule lifted

Travel operators are reporting sharply increased passenger numbers and forward bookings after lockdown restrictions were eased in England.

The first inter-city departure was a National Express coach from Manchester via Birmingham to London, which was specially timed for 12.01am. It sold out completely. Like other National Express services, only around half the seats are available due to social distancing measures.

The rival long-distance coach operator, Megabus, reported strong demand for short-notice trips.

A spokesperson said: “We’ve had a steady stream of bookings for today. The Bristol to Manchester route was a busy route today, with only one seat out of the three services left available.”

In London, the Monday morning rush hour appeared significantly busier than in previous weeks – especially at the biggest stations serving the south of the capital, Victoria and Waterloo.

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Yvonne Young, a commuter from southwest London, tweeted: “Today is 2nd stage of easing lockdown – known for five weeks. Earlsfield to Waterloo. At least two trains still cut between 7.30- 8am which means a 12-minute gap for a busy station, and on top of this eight carriages rather than 10.”

The Twitter feed for South Western Railway responded: “Thank you for raising this with us. Following feedback from our customers, our teams are closely monitoring passenger numbers on this part of our network.”

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