Thousands of holidaymakers face disruption as Dover aims to reschedule coach times around Good Friday

5 April 2023, 14:03

Travel coaches face being delayed under a new system
Travel coaches face being delayed under a new system. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Coach travel at Dover will be limited on Good Friday as thousands of holidaymakers face disruption on their Easter getaway.

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Ferry operators are trying to spread the volume of traffic at the port after last weekend's disruption saw coaches get held up for more than 12 hours.

It's part of a bid to avoid a repeat of that problem, which saw people having to sleep on packed buses and get fed crisps and chocolate.

The Port of Dover described that as a "horrible situation".

Read more: Brits warned of Easter Bank Holiday travel chaos as ‘significant’ contingency plans put in place after Dover delays

Good Friday is expected to be the busiest day of the long Easter weekend.

French border control will bring in a full complement of officials so outbound travellers will be processed faster.

And "additional temporary border control infrastructure" will be brought in "as contingency capacity for coach processing".

Coaches were severely disrupted during last weekend's chaos
Coaches were severely disrupted during last weekend's chaos. Picture: Alamy

The decision to try and "reduce coach volumes" on Good Friday will see ferry operators DFDS, Irish Ferries and P&O Ferries "working with their coach customers to spread the travel" from Thursday to Saturday.

Coach traffic is expected to be a third lower than it was last week, when huge queues built up at the port which threw travellers' holiday plans into turmoil.

But the Confederation of Passenger Transport, a trade association for coach businesses, said limiting the traffic volume would be "an unacceptable and backward step".

Read more: 'We've had this before!': Keir Starmer says 'of course' Brexit can be blamed for travel chaos at Port of Dover

Passengers were left stranded for hours at Dover
Passengers were left stranded for hours at Dover. Picture: Alamy

Drivers have been told to arrive on time and not early so as to "avoid unnecessary bottlenecks".

Critics of Brexit have laid the blame at Britain's departure from the EU.

Sir Keir Starmer told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast: "Of course Brexit has had an impact - there are more checks to be done. That doesn't mean that I'm advocating reversal of Brexit - I'm not. I've always said there's no case now for going back in."

The port itself partly pointed the finger at "lengthy French border processes" as well as "sheer volume" last weekend.

No 10 warned on Monday: "We have significant contingency plans in place, we would encourage, as a matter of good practice, passengers to check those adverse weather conditions prior to travel because these can be contributory factors."