Rush hour is back...

Peak-hour traffic returned to pre-pandemic levels yesterday in some parts of the country, as the end of home work and the start of the new school year led to increased congestion.


The figures showed that the roads in London, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Nottingham, Leicester and Liverpool were as busy as in 2019, a sign that cities are beginning to return to normal.


Transport for London confirmed that yesterday morning was the busiest on the tube for 18 months, since before the first blockade. The use of buses is also increasing, with the number of passengers increasing by 71 percent in one week.


Travelers in other parts of the national rail network also spoke of crowded trains, with complaints that large numbers of travelers were not wearing masks.


The surge in rush hour traffic follows repeated government advice to get people back to work. The ministers dropped the official “work from home” guide on July 19 and companies were told that the government “expects and recommends a gradual return during the summer.”


Last month, Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, told young people that the office can be “really beneficial” for their careers and cautioned that video calling cannot be a substitute.

However, some large companies have been criticized for continuing to allow staff to work from home. The Bank of England came under fire today after removing the requirement that staff go to the office at least one day a week.


The latest figures released by TomTom show that traffic in some cities returned to pre-pandemic levels between 8 a.m. M. And 9 a. M. Today. Their data shows the amount of additional time required to complete a trip compared to completely “smooth” traffic.

It shows that in London congestion added 61 percent to travel times at 8am, indicating a high level of traffic in the capital. It was only slightly below the 63 percent level recorded at the same point in 2019 before the pandemic.


In Nottingham, traffic was actually worse than pre-pandemic levels, with congestion of 66 per cent early this morning compared to 53 per cent in 2019. Congestion was also worse in Liverpool at 50 per cent in compared to 47 percent two years ago.


In Birmingham and Wolverhampton, congestion was 49 percent, which was close to the 51 percent recorded two years ago, while it was 54 percent in Leicester, only marginally below the 59 percent recorded in 2019.


The increase is partly explained by the return of schools in England and Wales, with the new period beginning in most of the country late last week.


Congestion was also close to pre-pandemic levels in Glasgow (43% today vs. 48% in 2019), although schools returned north of the border in August.


Separate data from Transport for London also shows a sharp increase in passengers using the London Underground and buses in the capital. A total of 831,000 “taps” – inputs and outputs – were logged on the tube between 7 am and 10 am.


Although this was only 45 percent of pre-pandemic levels, it was still the busiest morning on the network since March 2020, TfL said. The organization said it expected the total number of passengers to be above 50 percent by the end of service today.


This morning there were some 860,000 bus trips over three hours in the capital. At the busiest time, between 8 a.m. M. And 9 a. M., Demand increased 71 percent compared to the previous week. Overall, passenger numbers were 64 percent of pre-Covid levels.

TfL said that “clearly people are still coming back to the grid”, and many of those using the subway are likely to be commuters using the subway to get to work, while the number of bus riders was boosted in largely by schools.


In other parts of the rail network, passengers took to Twitter to complain about crowding on some trains operated by companies such as ScotRail, Cross Country, Northern, Southern and Chiltern.


Despite the increase, in many other cities congestion continues well behind pre-pandemic levels. TomTom data suggested that traffic in Manchester, Leeds, Bristol, Brighton, Portsmouth, Hull, Sheffield, Newcastle, Cardiff, Belfast and Edinburgh was still low compared to congestion in 2019, indicating that increased work in the city center is not universally spread out.

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