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Christmas: Travel warning as 20 million trips expected – BBC

Drivers have been warned Christmas traffic will be back at pre-pandemic levels with people taking to the roads to avoid the planned rail strikes.
Traffic experts said 40% of the 20 million UK trips were expected on Friday and Christmas Eve, set to be the busiest days of the festive period.
Rail passengers have been advised to avoid Christmas Eve travel to avoid being affected by the rail strikes.
The M4 at Newport and Port Talbot are forecast to be Wales' busiest roads.
Train operators will run a full timetable in the week up to Christmas but passengers have been warned about "significant disruption" as the network will shut early on Christmas Eve due to the latest round of industrial action by RMT members.
Network Rail has told passengers to travel only if "absolutely necessary" on Saturday, with those needing to travel on Christmas Eve advised to complete their journey by noon to avoid being affected by the walkout.
The latest strike last from 18:00 GMT on Saturday until 06:00 on 27 December, with services on that day starting later than usual as part of a reduced timetable.
GWR, which runs services between south Wales, London and England's south coast, said all routes throughout the Christmas and new year period would have a reduced timetable.
GWR also warned journey times on mainline services between south Wales and London would take 25 minutes longer between Christmas and new year due to engineering work and would stop at Patchway instead of Bristol Parkway.
Transport for Wales, which runs trains between south Wales and Manchester and north Wales, has told passengers to plan ahead and warned of busy trains.
"Despite not being involved in the strikes, only around 10% of our services will be running and the majority of the Wales and Borders network will have no services at all," said Jan Chaudhry-Van der Velde, TfW chief operations officer.
TfW has warned that there will be disruption to some south Wales Valleys services over the festive period with buses replacing trains between Pontypridd and Aberdare between 27 December and 5 January and between Pontypridd and Merthyr Tydfil from 2 January – 5 January due to engineering work.
Passengers travelling between north Wales and London on Avanti West Coast also face disrupted services on Christmas Eve, 27 and 28 December, as have people travelling on Crosscountry trains between Cardiff and Birmingham and Nottingham.
The RAC predicts 19.6 million car trips in the run-up to the first post-pandemic Christmas – with almost eight million of those vehicles on the UK's roads on Friday and Saturday.
"With pre-pandemic levels of travellers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delay," said Bob Pishue of traffic analysts Inrix.
Stretches of the M25, M60 near Manchester, the M5 around Bristol and the M6 around Birmingham are forecast to be the UK's busiest roads by traffic experts.
The M4 around Newport is set to be Wales' busiest stretch of road, with congestion also expected around Port Talbot and Swansea.
"While 23 December and Christmas Eve look set to be the busiest travelling days, planned industrial action by rail service staff may lead to increased levels of cars on our roads," said AA president Edmund King.
Both Traffic Wales and Highways England are keeping roads they manage free of non-emergency roadworks in an attempt to keep people moving.
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Meet the officers working behind the scenes helping to get you home for Christmas
Long distance bus companies have added extra capacity on rail strike days due to what they described as "unprecedented" demand.
National Express has added more than 50,000 seats across its UK routes over the festive period as they expect to more than 500,000 passengers between 22 December and 2 January.
"We're seeing huge demand for our services, particularly on and around the rail strike days," said John Boughton of National Express.
Megabus has also said there was a "definite correlation" between rail strikes and demand for coach travel, with the firm adding 50 extra services – including 20 to and from Wales.
Managing director Mark Venables added that demand – about 30% up compared to before the pandemic – was "unprecedented and quite extraordinary".
Border Force staff are going on strike for eight days over Christmas and it will affect several UK airports.
The strikes take place from 23-26 and 28-31 December but Cardiff Airport said it planned to remain open and operational.
The UK government has warned travellers could face "serious disruption" during the strikes and at Cardiff, airport bosses have warned that some arriving passengers "may experience a slightly longer wait at passport control".
Airlines including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have stopped selling new tickets for inbound flights to Heathrow on the days of the Border Force strikes.
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