Could School holidays be re-worked to help UK infrastructure?

During the course of last week, the train that I catch from Coventry to London Euston every day was quieter – noticeably quieter. I suspect this is probably true on many commuter routes during the school half term holidays. The fact that parents utilise annual leave to spend time with and supervise their children when they are not at school makes perfect sense and has obvious motivations in terms of emotion, organisation and economics. This in turn creates the noticeable (and welcome) lull in traffic numbers. You do wonder though, whether a bit of clever structuring could lift the burden from both passengers and the UK transport infrastructure for a more sustained period? If data analysis was used to report accurately on the origin of passengers travelling on each route then surely we could work out which people held responsibility for school goers and in what quantity? From there, our traffic management systems and business intelligence tools would be able to work out how to stagger things so that capacity was nicely balanced for three weeks during a half term instead of just the odd one?

Put another way, if travellers from Sutton Coldfield, Solihull, Stratford Upon Avon, Coventry, Nuneaton and Rugby (many of whom board the same train heading for the same destination within a short space of time) were separated into relatively equal groups of holiday takers and had three different half terms, could chaos not be averted for three weeks instead of one? To a lesser degree the same would have to apply to the motorway infrastructure where the same stretches are heavily occupied at peak times by the members of these groups. In terms of broader knock on effects, the application of this model could also smooth spikes in supply and demand for would be holiday makers who have to choose between staying at home, breaking the rules (by travelling in term time) or paying a ludicrous price point premium for that much coveted week?

There are obviously flaws in my plan. There could be siblings who end up attending school in different towns and others who may end up sharing holiday care and supervision across different education calendars. We would need more automation and organisation to ensure that the advice dished out by BI systems is implemented without confusion. We would probably have to cut back on random decision making by regional committee and the centralisation of school calendars may be required. It may transpire that teachers require each half term break to perfectly dissect the duration of the term in order to avoid being exposed to a gargantuan shift of 7 consecutive weeks?!

I accept that my motives for concocting this concept are almost entirely selfish but by happy coincidence would it not make life slightly more pleasant for quite a few of us? Food for thought…

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