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How to stay safe and avoid busy journeys this Christmas

If you’re using public transport over Christmas, we’ve got a few insights and tips to make your journeys as seamless, stress-free and safe as possible.
December 7, 2021

Christmas is right around the corner. And with Christmas comes the inevitable rush on public transport as Brits up and down the country travel home to be with friends and family.

Much like last year, this Christmas comes with its challenges. Covid is still a major factor of our day-to-day lives, and many restrictions are still in place as we all try to navigate our way through more complicated times.

Although mask wearing on public transport never went away, social distancing has certainly taken a bit of a backseat in comparison to last year. But with the need to stay safe ahead of the festive period, people are being urged to plan ahead, take extra precaution and be more conscious of their upcoming travel plans. Not only that, but many train and bus services will be disrupted or amended over the holidays as they are every year.

If you’re using public transport over the next few weeks, we’ve got a few insights and tips to make your journeys as seamless, stress-free and safe as possible.

How much busier will it be?

There’s always going to be peak times for train travel, no matter what time of year it is. But in the week leading up to Christmas, there will be a 26% uplift in the number of people travelling. Not only that, but the busy period that usually coincides with rush hour every day is also different. Instead, the busiest time to travel by train is between 10:30pm and 2pm. This is a large chunk of the day and often unavoidable, which is why it’s better to plan your journey beforehand and ensure you’ve taken extra care to book a seat.

How to steer clear of the crowds

The main problem most passengers encounter on a journey over the Christmas season is how busy everywhere is. Whether it’s the stampede through the station to get a good seat, the crowded carriages and platforms or the queue to get that much needed pre-departure coffee, swarms of people can often be the cause of a very stressful journey. And the pandemic has only heightened this further, as naturally we’re all striving to stay healthy before tucking into our Christmas dinner.

Luckily, we can help you avoid the more hectic train services. Our unique technology – calibrated and proven by the University of Birmingham – means we can tell you how busy the station will be and offer you alternative, quieter routes if you need them. By keeping you up to speed on every leg of your journey and monitoring your travel plans ahead of the peak Christmas period, we can help to ease the stress that crowding can cause.

phone showing how busy your train will be

How to plan your journey ahead of time

With Christmas comes a lot of planning – and travelling is no different. However, we know that even if you plan things to a T, there are lots of elements to public transport that can throw a spanner in the works, such as an unexpected delay or a service cancellation.

That’s why it’s best to have instant access to something that can predict and update you on these changes in real-time, so no matter what happens on-route, you’ll have a way of getting to your final destination.

Our personalised journey planner does exactly that – keeping you in the know at every single step.  

Think of us as your go-to travel companion, offering features such as live insights around delayed train services, weather-dependant journey routes, accessibility information, one-of-a-kind crowding and busyness data and even loyalty rewards. Need to know where the nearest toilet is? Or how to find the quietest taxi rank? Maybe you need access to a lift? Or you’re desperate for a cup of tea after a long day of Christmas shopping? We’ll let you know exactly what facilities are nearby, and we’ll help you with the next leg of your journey when you’re off the train.

smartphone showing a journey plan with a busy route

How to find your next stop

The final step of your journey is just as important as the first. The last thing you want when you get off the train is to scramble around looking for a taxi or a bus stop, especially if you’re unsure on directions or which route is the fastest.

To help, we’ve developed a clever little feature called 'Last Mile' that checks in with you before you arrive at your designated station and offers real-time assistance to get you where you need to go. So, how does it work?

As well as letting you know where the nearest bus, scooter, bike or taxi is, we’ll also check the weather and accommodate this into your route home. We’ll even let you know how busy each travel options is, because if it’s quicker to walk, that’s what we’ll recommend you do. So, when we say we’re a door-to-door journey planner…we really mean it!

Travelling home for Christmas

Travelling home for Christmas doesn’t have to be complicated. Whether you’re getting a short haul train ride out of London or you’re gearing up for a long-haul, multi-leg journey halfway across the country, we’ve created and developed a variety of intelligent features that will make planning your journey during the Christmas rush an absolute breeze.

Plan your journey with Zipabout to stay in the know, on the go.