The annual 2-day Christmas public transport shutdown

I am writing this on Boxing Day, 26 December, the second day on which there are almost no trains or buses running throughout the UK. Certainly in my area, there are no local buses at all, and no trains on the West Coast line from Stoke or Crewe. This has become a normal experience in recent years. My question is how this is allowed to continue in our 24-hour society?

A few years ago we went to New York for a few days over Christmas, flying out on Christmas Day. On arrival at LaGuardia in the late afternoon (we had flown via Detroit), we found all the transport services running as they would on a normal day, and this continued on the 26th. Maybe a comparison with a major city is unfair, but it does show a difference in attitude. A 48-hour closedown of public transport would be simply unheard of there!

I am not convinced by the arguments rolled out to support the 2-day closure either. There would be no shortage of people willing to work over the Christmas period, especially at double or even triple rates, and time could be given off in lieu later in the year when the weather is better. Not everyone wants to conform to the stereotypical image of a family Christmas either.

As it is, if you want to travel on Christmas Day/Boxing Day, unless you drive, you are stuck. I don’t know why we continue to tolerate this, especially with many sales starting on Boxing Day! There’s nothing like a bit of retail pressure to change mindsets.

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