Coach operator National Express has recorded a spike in demand as students head home for Christmas.
The firm said passenger numbers have more than doubled since the “travel window” opened last week.
Students in England were allocated staggered departure dates so they can spend the festive period with their families.
The window opened on December 3 and closes on Wednesday.
The rise in demand coincided with the end of England’s national coronavirus lockdown, but National Express commercial director John Boughton said thousands of students have used its coaches to travel home.
He said: “We added extra vehicles to safely increase the number of seats available on routes that serve university locations during the travel window.
“There has been an overall increase of 122% in passengers travelling with us during the first four days of the student travel window when compared to the same period for the previous week.
“This does coincide with the lifting of restrictions but it is most noticeable for locations with large student populations such as Birmingham (up 159%), Bristol (173%), Leicester (147%) and Nottingham (166%).
“And bookings for the final days of the window also show an overall increase of around 160%.
“As we move into regional tiers and people start planning for the Christmas Covid window, demand for travel in December is growing and, where possible, we are increasing capacity in response.”
Support The Courier today.
The Courier is committed to delivering quality content to our communities and right now that’s more important than ever — which is why our key content is free. However, you can support us and access premium content by subscribing to The Courier from just £5.99 a month. Because Local Matters.Subscribe