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Easter: Dover moves to curb delays




Coaches leaving Dover on Good Friday will leave at different times over three days to avoid long waits.

The Port of Dover said that it decided to spread coach traffic out over Thursday, Friday, and Saturday after talking to ferry companies.

It will also create a temporary tent to help people on coaches get processed before crossing the border.

Last Friday, so many cars were waiting to get on ferries that Dover declared a critical incident.

Some bus riders had to wait for more than 12 hours.

The trade group for bus and coach companies, the Confederation of Passenger Transport, liked the changes. But it said that ferry companies needed to tell people more before they went.

It also asked the port to give coaches more ways to move forward.

The port said it was “very aware” that many travelers, especially older people and schoolchildren, had a terrible time last weekend.

It said that making sure things are better this weekend was the most important thing.

Good Friday is likely to be the busiest day of the Easter weekend, with trips by DFDS, Irish Ferries, and P&O Ferries.

The government also said delays could occur during the break and that people should check with operators before traveling.

The port said all three ferry companies had been “working with their coach customers” to spread the traffic.

The number of coaches going through the port should be one-third less than last weekend.

The port told bus and car drivers to get there early so they wouldn’t add to the lines and make bottlenecks.

The Port of Dover also said that the facilities for processing passengers leaving the port would be temporarily increased by adding a marquee to the existing coach hall.

DFDS said it had talked to bus companies and tour groups to “change bookings where possible.”

But Christine Dixon, the director of Cranberry Coachways, which had five coaches involved in last weekend’s “absolute carnage,” said that operators couldn’t easily change bookings.

Ms. Dixon said she was worried about her business because schools might not take bus trips in the future.

But grateful parents told her that “we did everything we could” to care for the children. This meant ordering pizza to go and bringing it to the coaches while they waited.

Coach companies contacted Eurotunnel when the Dover ferry was late

Because they don’t want weekend ferry delays at Dover to happen again, coach companies are asking Eurotunnel a lot more questions.

It happens when ferry companies and port officials talk about a “critical incident” in which people must wait more than 12 hours.

But Eurotunnel said that it was unlikely to have room because people had already made reservations.

The government said that new steps for Brexit were partly to blame for the lines.

Even though there were more ferries over the weekend, the long lines still needed to be cut down. Because of this, some kids had to spend the night on school buses.

The company that runs trains across the English Channel said Easter is a “really busy time,” but its contacts have told them that there have been more questions “over the last few days” because of what happened in Dover.

Eurotunnel spokesman John Keefe said that the service, which didn’t have any delays over the weekend, was already at full capacity.

The number of inquiries is going up at the same time that ferry companies are talking to the Port of Dover about how to limit the number of coaches going to France before a second wave of tourists is ready to go there.

P&O Ferries, one of three companies sailing from Dover, said the talks were “ongoing and dynamic.” DFDS and Irish Ferries are the other two firms.

When it was said that there were plans to limit the number of coaches going through the port during busy times like school breaks, no one said anything.

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The Confederation of Passenger Transport, representing coach companies, said it had asked the Port of Dover to join the talks but had yet to hear back.

The Department of Transportation said it was still “in close contact” with everyone involved in the delays, but it wouldn’t say if it was part of the talks.

The Port of Dover said it would make a statement in the “coming days.”