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Crossing the Channel: Hours of traffic in the British port of Dover

The situation in the English port of Dover remains critical this Sunday, despite additional boats crossing the Channel overnight. Many passengers wait long hours to cross border controls and board the ferry to France.

Since Friday, hundreds of people traveling on school trips at the start of the Easter holidays have had to wait sometimes more than 12 hours to board the ferry, and long queues have formed near the port. 400 buses and trucks were banned.

“The situation is improving,” I wanted to reassure Sunday morning Heavenly message Interior Minister Suella Braverman. Ferry companies P&O and DFDS report a “6-hour wait” for coaches before passing border controls.

The port of Dover previously saw significant passenger numbers, but since the UK left the EU, extra passport checks are taking longer. “The difference in living in a post-Brexit environment is that every passport must be checked before a vehicle or passenger can cross into the EU through France. It’s happening here in Dover. So it makes the treatment more difficult,” Doug Bannister, the port’s CEO, explained to British media.

Strikes continue on both sides of the Channel, for weeks in France and months in Great Britain, and this has nothing to do with the economic and social situation. During this period of mass holiday departures for many Britons, the infrastructure saw a higher than expected influx of passengers and vehicles. Also the weather made it difficult to board the boats.

“I don’t think it’s fair to say that Brexit is a negative effect,” argues Suella Braverman. “Overall, in all these years since we left the European Union, we have had very good cooperation”, but “at critical moments, when there is a lot of pressure to cross the Channel by tunnel or by boat”. He called on “everyone” to be patient while waiting for transport companies to absorb the excess traffic.

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“For about eight hours, we didn’t really move.”

Many passengers took to social media and the British media to express their anger. “My son has been sitting on the bus since 6.30pm yesterday (Saturday) and they still haven’t boarded! “, Chet protested on Twitter, for example. Rosie Pearson, who was traveling with her husband and two sons, had to wait until 4 p.m. before boarding. “It’s a real mess,” she told The Associated Press. “In 16 hours, nobody told us anything, ” he added.

Some passengers had to spend Friday night in their seats as authorities diverted more than 20 coaches to nearby rest areas. Katie Broward, a sports teacher at St Joseph’s High School in Wrexham, takes 40 students skiing in the Alps. The group should have boarded the boat at 5pm on Saturday. Instead, he told Sky News, “At around 4pm we were put in the waiting area. At midnight we were shifted to another area where we stayed for an hour and a half. There are no toilets. At that time, P&O gave us KitKats (chocolate bars, editor’s note). They still don’t have water.” He added, “The situation is now very catastrophic. (…) For about eight hours, we didn’t really move”.

“You can’t have the same old problem every summer holiday, every Easter holiday,” Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said. The government needs to get this under control and really help people who are trying to get away for a few days off. »

Video. Already in July, thousands of vehicles were blocked at the port of Dover

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At the end of July, when the British went on holiday, the road traffic at Dover harbor was a problem. The British government then accused France and its border of not having enough manpower, which Paris denied. On the French side, we pointed to the role of Brexit and the long-term restrictions it would bring.