UK passengers wait hours for ferries to France ahead of Easter getaway

Traffic at the Port of Dover as the Easter getaway begins, in Kent England, Saturday April 1, 2023.
Traffic at the Port of Dover as the Easter getaway begins, in Kent England, Saturday April 1, 2023. Copyright Gareth Fuller/AP
By Euronews with AP
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Coach passengers experienced prolonged delays at the English Channel crossing in Dover on Saturday despite extra ferries scheduled.

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The Port of Dover declared a critical incident on Saturday as high levels of traffic caused coach passengers to experience lengthy delays. 

Officials blamed the delays on bad weather, heavy traffic and processing delays by the French authorities.

The port warned ferry passengers of prolonged wait times and said it was “deeply frustrated” by the situation, which has become a regular feature of cross-channel travel since Britain’s exit from the European Union. 

While the port said bus passengers faced the longest delays, local media reports showed long lines of cars and trucks as well.

AP Photo
Coaches wait to enter the Port of Dover after extra sailings were run overnight to try and clear the backlog which has left passengers stuck in Easter traffic for hours.AP Photo

One coach driver said he had to first wait three and half hours for passengers to be cleared: "by the time we reached the port, we joined a queue. And seven hours later, we'd moved about three inches. The port was teeming with children getting off the coaches to go to the toilets. If you went into the toilet area, it was devastated. It was full of bodies, nobody could get there. And it was real harrowing."

Ferry operator DFDS said that due to the heavy traffic, it was offering a 'shuttle service' that would put passengers on the next available ferry as soon as they check in.

“Whilst freight and car traffic was processed steadily regardless of the additional challenging weather conditions and high seasonal volumes, coach traffic suffered significant delays due to lengthy French border processes and sheer volume,” the port said.

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