‘Sat-nav should be used intelligently’

sat-nav device
Satellite Navigation Device

Name and address supplied asks: “To be very blunt, what was a coach doing on the M6 if it was going to Holyhead?” In the late 1980s I spent three years driving National Express coaches, based at the Crosville Wales depot in Holyhead, going to and from London up to three times a week.

Oddly, every journey was scheduled to operate via the M56 and M6. Satellite navigation didn’t exist then, but I was fully aware of a road called the A5 for a more direct route and other options that we would sometimes take between Chester and Birmingham when the M6 was not flowing well. However, when the M6 was not acting as a car park, it was a reasonable route to take to and from Holyhead.

Of more significance at that time was that there were few stretches of dual carriageway
on the A55 and, depending on the time of year and day, you could easily lose up to 90 minutes just travelling eastbound through Conwy before the bypass and tunnel were built. Passengers waiting further along the coast were not always pleased.

I agree that blind adherence to sat-nav directions can be a mistake, but equally, if used intelligently, it can be one of the most useful tools available (particularly if it is receiving live updates and dynamically planning the route based on density of traffic flows).

An operator that takes the stance of “we do not, under any circumstances, use satellite navigation. Alongside Driver CPC, this is one of the most useless items for any coach driver” would be one that I would avoid, even though it may “have 53 years of PSV experience”.

I expect the vehicle used will be of the latest specification and kept up to date with modern standards. However, the person running the operation may not entirely match these pre-conditions.

Joe Lynch, Stranraer