Half-term success at Dover promising for summer
Following the implementation of new operational measures, the Port of Dover successfully processed 15,000-plus tourist vehicles, including coaches, over the peak May half-term weekend, with the average wait time not exceeding 45 minutes during the Port’s busiest period.
So far this year, the Port has experienced an increase of over 200% in coach traffic, and a 65% increase in passenger volumes, compared to the first five months of 2022, highlighting Dover’s attraction as the route of choice for the coach industry.
The new operational measures have been put in place following long delays at the Port during busy times for coach crossings.
“Coach passengers who travelled through the Port over half-term were the first to experience our new processing system and increased resource levels” – Doug Bannister, CEO, Port of Dover
Doug Bannister, CEO, Port of Dover, said: “Through a collaborated effort with our three ferry operators, coach associations and Police aux Frontières (PAF), we efficiently managed peak traffic flows over the May half-term. Overall, passenger wait times were as predicted and the new measures implemented proved to be extremely effective; even during the challenging period on the Saturday morning of the peak weekend when French border colleagues were resolving their temporary IT issues, the maximum wait did not exceed two hours.
“Coach passengers who travelled through the Port over half-term were the first to experience our new processing system and increased resource levels. Now, we are focused on the upcoming summer period and planning the implementation of even more improvements, including the addition of a permanent coach border processing facility to replace contingency measures in the buffer zone. This in turn will improve the border capacity for cars travelling onto ferries.
“We are excited to welcome passengers to the Port this summer and ease their journey through the Port before their departure for Europe. Passengers continue to enjoy swift journey times; with no leg room restrictions, as much luggage as you can fit in a car, on board entertainment and no further checks on disembarkation, passengers can drive directly off to their destination, making ferry travel via Dover the best choice for families this summer.”
“We welcome the Port’s response to our calls for more French border control staff and improved coach facilities, and recognise the Port’s determination to deliver a much better customer experience” – Graham Vidler, CEO, Confederation of Passenger Transport UK
Graham Vidler, CEO, Confederation of Passenger Transport UK, said: “We worked closely with the Port in the run-up to May half-term to ensure the needs of coach operators and passengers were fully understood. We welcome the Port’s response to our calls for more French border control staff and improved coach facilities, and recognise the Port’s determination to deliver a much better customer experience.
“A significant amount of preparation has gone into creating an effective plan for handling coaches and half-term demonstrated how the plan works. The Confederation of Passenger Transport will continue to work with our Dover partners to ensure the coach industry continues to benefit from investment in infrastructure and can enjoy a successful summer.”