Dover delays: coaches to be staggered in order to avoid Easter ferry delays at Dover port

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Coaches leaving the Port of Dover will be staggered over Easter weekend in a bid to avoid further delays during the bank holiday.

The Port of Dover has taken the decision to spread the volume of coaches leaving the port across Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday after talks with ferry operators. The port will also add additional "temporary border control infrastructure" - consisting of a marquee.

The Port of Dover declared a critical incident last Friday, after long queues of traffic trying to board ferries built up, with some coach passengers waiting for more than 12 hours at the port. Good Friday is expected to be the busiest day of the upcoming Easter weekend with sailings by DFDS, Irish Ferries and P&O Ferries.

The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) said ferry firms also needed to improve advance information. The decision to stagger coaches has been welcomed by Graham Vidler, chief executive of the CPT, the trade body for coach and bus companies.

He said: "We are pleased the Port of Dover has listened to our calls to bring in more frontier staff, but we still need ferry operators to improve their passenger advance information and for the Port to introduce more coach priority measures."

The Port of Dover has said it was "acutely aware that last weekend was a horrible situation for many travellers, including the elderly and schoolchildren" and that making sure things were better this over Easter weekend was a priority. The port said all three companies, DFDS, Irish Ferries and P&O Ferries had been "working with their coach customers" to spread the volume of traffic.

DOVER, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: Traffic moves through Dover Port on April 03, 2023 in Dover, England. Over the weekend, travellers had reported delays of more than 12 hours for ferries crossing the English Channel. By the early hours of Monday morning, traffic had largely returned to normal. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)DOVER, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: Traffic moves through Dover Port on April 03, 2023 in Dover, England. Over the weekend, travellers had reported delays of more than 12 hours for ferries crossing the English Channel. By the early hours of Monday morning, traffic had largely returned to normal. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
DOVER, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: Traffic moves through Dover Port on April 03, 2023 in Dover, England. Over the weekend, travellers had reported delays of more than 12 hours for ferries crossing the English Channel. By the early hours of Monday morning, traffic had largely returned to normal. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Coach and car drivers are being advised not to arrive too early at the port to avoid adding to queues and creating bottlenecks. The Port of Dover also said the facilities "for processing coach passengers will also be temporarily expanded via a marquee installed in addition to the existing coach hall for departing passengers".

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