April 03 2023

The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) is calling for crisis talks between the government, Port of Dover, ferry companies and coach operators to put an end to travel chaos for passengers at the English border.

The UK trade association for the coach sector is frustrated that lessons weren’t learnt from the February holidays and coaches were again held back behind cars and HGVs. The result is that many coach passengers, including thousands of children travelling on school trips, were delayed between 8 and 24 hours.

CPT understands this weekend (1 and 2 April) the weather on the channel was a minor contributory factor to the disruption, but according to the Port of Dover, the French authorities had the right number of border guards asked of them to carry out passport checks.

Graham Vidler, CEO of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, said: “Something’s clearly wrong when a coach – the most efficient way to transport large numbers of people across the Channel - is treated unfairly compared to other vehicles.

“Coaches provide the answer to the environmental and congestion issues we’re trying to address, yet some of our spacious vehicles full of students and holidaymakers were left stranded.

“The procedures to enter the EU should not have a negative impact on people who don’t want to fly or drive by car to continental Europe. We’re calling on the government, the Port of Dover and ferry companies to get round the table with the coach sector to resolve this mess once and for all.”

Without a resolution, the coach sector fears the situation will only get worse as the UK enters the start of the summer season when more holidaymakers will travel.