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Bank holiday weekend to be 'quietest' on roads in seven years

Bank holiday weekend to be 'quietest' on roads in seven years

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 6:21am 22nd May 2020. (Updated at 6:28am 22nd May 2020)

This spring bank holiday is forecast to be the quietest on the roads on at least seven years, but people in Cornwall and Devon are also being urged not to travel by train.

Train operator GWR is reminding customers to avoid travelling by rail, and to only use the services if really necessary, freeing up space for essential journeys.

Social distancing guidance means that seats have been blocked off and trains can only carry about a tenth of the usual number of passengers. This significantly reduces the number of people who can safely travel on a service.

To allow people who have to travel the best opportunity to do so safely, GWR is asking customers to consider if their journey is really necessary and to not use trains for leisure purposes or for their daily exercise.

“With social distancing guidance in place we are able to carry as little as a tenth of the usual number of passengers, and customers are not yet able to use trains as freely as they once did.

“We are doing everything we can to carry as many people, safely, as we can. This will make sure that those who absolutely need to travel by train can do so. But I must ask you, is your journey really necessary?”

GWR Interim Managing Director Matthew Golton

Meantime the RAC is reporting that only half as many journeys by car are planned this bank holiday weekend, compared to last year

Its research shows the majority of drivers are planning on staying local and that an appetite for journeys has waned compared to last weekend, with two-thirds of drivers not planning any leisure trips at all

Among drivers who do plan on taking the car out, half of the trips taken won’t be more than 10 miles in length – suggesting the weekend will be one more characterised by trips to local parks, garden centres and stay-at-home barbecues. 

The research also suggests interest in using the car to visit beaches, national parks and other beauty spots is considerably lower than just a week ago.

After fears last weekend that national parks and other traditionally popular tourist destinations could be swamped by day trippers, the research provides an indication that the vast majority of drivers remain very cautious about heading further afield for recreation – not least with the vast majority of amenities, including public toilets, remaining shut.

“This weekend will be anything but a traditional sunny bank holiday weekend, and in fact nationally it could turn out to be the quietest on the motorways and major roads ever, with our research indicating people are much keener to stay at home than pack the car up for a day trip. Of course, there will still almost certainly be jams on local roads leading to beaches, country parks and other beauty spots, probably made up of people who live within very easy reach of these destinations.

“While it’s true that some car parks in popular locations were quick to fill up last weekend, it was positive to see that many of the fears around people swarming to tourist destinations thankfully didn’t translate into widespread problems. Tourist boards and the police will be hoping for something similar this coming weekend."

RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis

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