A rush back to offices saw traffic jams on the roads and record numbers on the Tube on Monday, as public sector workers seemed to be left behind in remaining at home.
Traffic surged back to pre-pandemic levels in major cities as a slew of big companies ordered employees back to their workplaces with the end of the summer holidays.
However, many public sector workers did not rejoin the morning rush as the ministers continued a “gradual” return for civil servants.
The official work from home guidance was rescinded on July 19, however Whitehall sources said departments had only a slight increase in civil servants returning to the office over the summer.
A spokesman said the Government was “gradually increasing numbers of staff in the workplace” to “reduce the risk of transmission of Covid”.
Meanwhile, large companies such as Sainsbury’s, BP and Vodafone told workers to start returning to the office from Monday.
Data from the SatNav company TomTom showed that peak traffic was back to the same levels as in 2019 in major cities.
In London, traffic peaked at 61 percent congestion on Monday morning according to the figures, which was just a shade below the 63 percent seen on the same day in 2019. This compares to the same day last year where congestion peaked at just 49 percent.
There was gridlock on major roads leading into the capital on Monday morning, with cars and lorries bumper-to-bumper along stretches of the A102 from Kent into London.
It was a similar story in Birmingham, where traffic peaked at 49 percent on Monday morning compared to 51 percent in 2019 and 34 percent in 2020.
Monday was also the busiest day on the Tube since the pandemic hit in March last year.
Transport for London said that between 7am and 10am, said there were 831,000 tap-ins at stations, with over 332,000 on the network during its busiest hour.
Tube usage hovered between 30 and 45 percent during the pandemic but shot back up to 64 percent of its pre-Covid levels on Monday.
Commuters also reported streets in the capital were looking at their busiest for months. One, Damian Wild, shared images on Twitter of crowded streets in the City of London. “The City is definitely busier than I’ve seen it in an age this morning but it’s a trickle, not a flood,” he said