On Friday July 7th, ferry passengers at the British port of Dover wanting to cross to France faced long queues. According to The Independent, very long lines of vehicles could be seen and port authorities had to warn passengers that the wait times were of at least two hours for cars and buses. Trying to minimize the disruption, authorities at the port assured that those who had missed their departure would be able to travel on the next available service.
Some travelers took to social media to express their frustration. “We’re sitting in a queue that hasn’t moved in the last 90 minutes,” a user wrote on Twitter. “If you have any alternative to travel through Port of Dover then you should take it. We are expecting another 90 minutes further wait if lucky. France sent enough customs/passport staff for winter Wednesday.” Over the Easter holiday weekend this year, travelers also faced long queues. Some passengers had to wait on buses for more than ten hours, according to The Independent.
UK’s home secretary Suella Braverman has stated that the root cause of the delays ought not to be attributed to Brexit-related activities such as passport control. “I don’t think that’s fair to say that this has been an adverse effect of Brexit,” Braverman said, as quoted by The Independent. “We’ve had many years now since leaving the European Union and there’s been, on the whole, very good operations and processes at the border. At acute times where there is a lot of pressure crossing the Channel, whether that’s on tunnel or ferries, then I think there’s always going to be a back-up.”
At the end of July last year, three days of disruptions were observed at at the Port of Dover and Folkestone when holidaymakers from the UK trying to cross from to France were stuck for several hours on the roads. Traffic built up on the roads leading to the Eurotunnel after the M20 motorway was turned into a lorry park due to Operation Brock, the traffic management system designed to relieve congestion in case of cross-channel traffic problems. With the motorway shut, car drivers were diverted to smaller roads which got jammed.
Travelers reported waiting in traffic up to 21 hours to reach the ports and sleeping in cars on the road overnight. Volunteers helped manage the emergency by handing out food, water and other supplies to travelers.
Jack Cousens, the head of roads policy for the AA, said that travelers were waiting for several hours in traffic before reaching the Eurotunnel, adding that Folkestone has turned into “the hotspot of holiday hell.”