We have been exclusive Eurotunnel customers for many years for our continental tours, so it was a big change to our plans at short notice when Eurotunnel reduced the number of coach bookings it would accept.
We have been forced off Eurotunnel and onto ferries. We now find huge delays on return to the UK caused by customs officers at Calais, with a terribly slow and time consuming system that should have gone out with the Ark.
Our coaches are missing ferry slots because of delays, making return journeys far too long and extending hours for our drivers. It is almost impossible to operate under these conditions, especially if coaches are behind an international scheduled coach such as a FlixBus. The system is wrong to check in only one coach at a time, and if it is a scheduled service, that is a very long process.
We know that other coach operators are having the same very serious problem. Yesterday, over one hour before ferry departure, our coach was transferred to a crossing leaving 90 minutes later due to insufficient customs control time.
Our coach returning from Lake Garda was on an early crossing from Calais this morning and was the only coach there. However, the French customs officials required that every bit of luggage was taken off, causing quite a delay.
It is back to the old days at Calais and more delays are to come. We never had this problem with Eurotunnel. Once again, coach passengers and crew are treated as second-class citizens.