By Marcus Leach
Following the announcement of widespread strikes and engineering work across the train and tube networks across the festive period, and the oncoming severe weather hitting the UK, Europe’s leading family-run car hire firm Sixt has experienced a 72 per cent spike in inbound enquiries as Brits turn to car hire to ensure they can make it home for Christmas.
The increase in call volumes is continuing and bookings in London in particular are up by 38 per cent compared to the same time last year, as drivers turn to car hire to escape the impending travel chaos and ensure they make it home to loved ones in time for Christmas Day.
In particular, enquiries about larger vehicles designed to cope with snow and harsh driving conditions have increased with the BMW 3 Series, Volvo V50 and VW Touran being the most requested models.
The disruption will mean that Britain’s transport lines will be down for almost 60 hours over the next two weeks, with some train services halting from 5pm on Christmas Eve and not resuming until Tuesday 27th December.
In addition, London’s Tube drivers will be staging one of four planned walk outs on 26th December, leaving many Londoner’s facing lengthy trips to escape the capital. Major engineering work is also planned with Great Western, West Coast and Midland mainlines affected.
Andrew Boyers, a 26 year-old marketing manager from Grimsby, has decided to rearrange his Christmas travel plans in light of the news.
“I had previously planned to travel up to my home town of Grimsby from London via Tube and then train but following the announcement of the poor weather and potential for disruptions on my train line I decided that I didn’t want to risk relying on public transport to get me back in time," he said.
"My journeys were disrupted last Christmas due to the snow meaning that I was delayed by an entire day and I really don’t want to go through that again! Instead, I’ve arranged a hire car via Sixt and will be sharing the car with a friend, meaning that the cost has actually come in cheaper than what I would have paid had I taken the train”.
Paul McLoughlin, Managing Director of Sixt UK, said they are fully prepared for the increase of business.
“We know how frustrating it is to be at the mercy of the British transport networks when they go wrong, especially at a time of year when you really just want to be at home enjoying the festive season with loved ones," he said.
"We were fully prepared for the influx of call, as Christmas is always a busy time of year for bookings, but we’ve been really surprised by the sheer number and our phones have been ringing off the hook.
"In light of the rail and weather news, it is really no surprise that we have experienced such a rush of activity and that our larger vehicles are in high demand because of their increased safety in snowy conditions”.
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