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Fuel crisis: Drivers ditch their cars and pack trains and tubes

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Guy Bell/REX/Shutterstock (12472142b) The return to work and possibly the fuel crisis means that the Northern Line is packed at rush hour - The tube is busier and masks are still obligatory but increasing numbers are ignoring the instruction led by mixed messages from the government. The Northern Line is packed at rush hour as the tube gets busier., London Underground, London, UK - 27 Sep 2021

The Northern Line is packed at rush hour (Picture: Rex/Shutterstock)

Car use has fallen to its lowest since July as Britain grapples with the fuel crisis, official figures reveal.

Vehicle traffic was at 91 per cent of pre-pandemic levels on Monday, down from 97 per cent the week before, said the Department for Transport.

And it follows evidence that train use has shot up — suggesting a growing number of commuters have switched to public transport to beat the chaos at petrol stations.

Earlier this week, Metro reported that the number of Tube passengers leapt by seven per cent on Monday — a post-pandemic high.

The number travelling by overground rail in the capital rose six per cent on the same day, with bus trips up two per cent. The DfT figures also showed car use fell to 104 per cent of pre-pandemic levels on Sunday, compared with 109 per cent a week earlier.

The increase in train travel comes amid warnings fuel could hit record prices even if the crisis ends, as global demand for oil surges.

Costs could reach up to 143p per litre for petrol and 145p for diesel in the next few weeks, said the RAC.

A long line of cars wait for fuel at a petrol station in Ashford, Kent (Picture: PA)
Vehicles queue for fuel at a petrol station in west London (Picture: PA)

The return of workers to offices has also led to soaring interest in homes for sale near commuter stations, according to property website Rightmove.

Searches for houses and flats within an hour by train from cities such as London, Manchester and Birmingham jumped ‘significantly’ between June and August.

The biggest spike was for homes in Chelmsford, Essex, where searches were up 107 per cent.

Tim Bannister, of Rightmove, said: ‘More people are starting to return to the office for at least a few days a week and so quick routes into major cities are rising up the priority list again.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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