Jump to content
Geoff Treseder

Border control Plymouth

Recommended Posts

We sailed to Roscoff out of Plymouth on Thursday 5th September, as most will know this was running late. When we arrived at the port she had just docked and we watched from the terminal as she unloaded. It quickly became obvious that border control wasn't coming close to keeping up. We wondered if extra checks were being undertaken but a short period of observation soon revealed the problem. The 2 lanes that feed into the 4 lanes to the cabins were stopped a distance back then fed into the next available booth, seemingly a very fair system. However as the docker was waiting until the vehicle cleared beore sending the next, the combination of the inevitable delay of getting started and the distance travelled meant there was a significant delay between each vehicle checked. Such delays usually generate bad feeling about the overall BF experience but as far as I could see it was the Port of Plymouth dockers modus operandi unless they had been instructed to do it this way by Border Control. Aiming for 2 vehicles in each lane would have been significantly more efficient

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Everybody knows it’s Border controls problem but you aren’t paying Border control a 3 or 4 figure sum of money so it’s reasonable to expect BF to speak up and get the situation sorted on your behalf, whereas all they do is to say email Border control , a rubbish end to a holiday regardless. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At least there were four officers on duty at Plymouth - on a Sunday at Roscoff there weren't. . We found it slower there than Plymouth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, wortley said:

At least there were four officers on duty at Plymouth - on a Sunday at Roscoff there weren't. . We found it slower there than Plymouth.

Four officers on duty at Plymouth!!! Must have been a mix up on their timesheets probably resulted on one being on duty the next day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bigger clangers  happen down here !  Locally we remember the day two years ago when a planeload of passengers from Spain landed at Cornwall Newquay airport and found no passport control officers on duty at all, so 200 people had to wait for 90 minutes while staff drove 80+ miles from Exeter to meet and greet them. Fast driving though.

Edited by wortley

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you look at BFs twitter feed there are zero complaints about delays at Border control in Roscoff but Plymouth on the other hand ,,,

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My sister and family travelled to France mid-afternoon on the first Friday in August and back at lunchtime on the third Sunday via the tunnel. BF wanted around £600 for similar timings via Caen. She booked 'Flexiplus' tickets which gives you the option to take any train you like when you turn up, even if late for your nominated departure, priority disembarkation and access to the VIP lounge. They paid £240 each way for 7 passengers, roof box and bike carrier so the prices were not that different once you factor in the extra miles and tolls. However they were off the train and on the motorway within 10 minutes at each end which, she said, simply meant they didn't start the long journey with a frustrating holdup. As a bonus they were able to help themselves to a wide range of drinks,  snacks, newspapers and magazines in the lounge and she estimated that between the 7 of them they took at least £40 worth each time. There is obviously a lot of effort at Folkestone and Calais to provide border staff numbers proportional to the traffic volumes. BF and Plymouth/Portsmouth ports etc must be able to communicate about their loadings and therefore should ensure Border Force send enough staff down as they have plenty of advance notice. Ed. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I agree that after a fine cruise, sitting in a traffic jam to get off the boat and get through border control wipes out much of the good memory of the crossing. It is often said that you remember the last thing in an event more than anything else. Plymouth is particularly bad and for that reason I try to avoid it, but Portsmouth can also be really frustrating. It is so annoying when Brittany Ferries simply says it is not their problem. If they were concerned about point to point customer experience, they would make it their problem.

 

I have sometimes wondered why the Le Toquet agreement cannot be extended to western ports. People arrive for their ferry typically over a period of up to two hours, whereas they depart all at the same time. By having staggered passport checks on arrival, it would presumably require fewer passport officers on duty at one time and this might partly offset the cost of posting Border Control overseas. If Brittany Ferries has to pay for this facility, this should be a priority. Onboard is generally fine, but this can all be undone by the process of getting off. For me, speedy exit is a big bonus of  the Dover ferries and Brittany Ferries should try to match this.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The cars are held back as there are concerns regarding pollution. There's limited pressure that can be put on a government department, and it is being applied.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use the stop/start system in the car in queues at Plymouth, esp inbound Border Control. The area is tucked in with high walls and buildings. It must be quite bad pollution for the staff there.

We will not use Pont Aven out of Plymouth because Plymouth just cant cope with a full load esp arriving. It takes too long.
Still we are nice and warm and dry in a car!

Nothing quite compares with a long wait in the open air in winter rain or freezing weather outside a portacabin into a Disney like queue inside to be allowed back into Europe  from Europe at Exeter INTERNATIONAL Airport!

Maybe we Brits have fallen out of love with queueing?

Toodle pip

Stu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Cabin-boy said:

My sister and family travelled to France mid-afternoon on the first Friday in August and back at lunchtime on the third Sunday via the tunnel. BF wanted around £600 for similar timings via Caen. She booked 'Flexiplus' tickets which gives you the option to take any train you like when you turn up, even if late for your nominated departure, priority disembarkation and access to the VIP lounge. They paid £240 each way for 7 passengers, roof box and bike carrier so the prices were not that different once you factor in the extra miles and tolls. However they were off the train and on the motorway within 10 minutes at each end which, she said, simply meant they didn't start the long journey with a frustrating holdup. As a bonus they were able to help themselves to a wide range of drinks,  snacks, newspapers and magazines in the lounge and she estimated that between the 7 of them they took at least £40 worth each time. There is obviously a lot of effort at Folkestone and Calais to provide border staff numbers proportional to the traffic volumes. BF and Plymouth/Portsmouth ports etc must be able to communicate about their loadings and therefore should ensure Border Force send enough staff down as they have plenty of advance notice. Ed. 

I think that 7 people in an over height vehicle with bike carrier shows the Eurotunnel vs BF comparison at its best The problem is that for 2 people in a normal car with CV discounts booking well in advance, BF is usually a lot cheaper than standard Eurotunnel rates unless it is a short trip and would give us another 400 miles of travel on a return journey plus tolls. However it is really nice being on the motorway 10 mins after the train stops.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 07/09/2019 at 23:17, scarlton said:

The cars are held back as there are concerns regarding pollution.

 

On 08/09/2019 at 04:28, straightfeed said:

I use the stop/start system in the car in queues at Plymouth, esp inbound Border Control. The area is tucked in with high walls and buildings. It must be quite bad pollution for the staff there.

So why do they do use the same thing with bicycles?  Perhaps they don't want smelly cyclists queueing next to them.  Some civil servant somewhere must have a reason for the system and not enough brain cells to work out how much it slows the flow down, causing more pollution.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can we go back to the idea that has previously been suggested of Priority Disembarkation and imagine that BF decide to implement such a scheme? If they were to provide 20 spaces at the front (or rear depending on direction of unloading) of Armorique or another ferry, how much extra would people be prepared to pay to secure one of those slot with the guarantee that you would be through customs and immigration within 10 minutes of arrival? Ed. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, Cabin-boy said:

Can we go back to the idea that has previously been suggested of Priority Disembarkation and imagine that BF decide to implement such a scheme? If they were to provide 20 spaces at the front (or rear depending on direction of unloading) of Armorique or another ferry, how much extra would people be prepared to pay to secure one of those slot with the guarantee that you would be through customs and immigration within 10 minutes of arrival? Ed. 

It also means priority loading as well, so they will have to guarantee to arrive at the port early.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I`ll start of by saying that I have no knowledge of the port of Plymouth, nor am I keen to from what I have read on here. However, it seems that with imagination and investment, the owners ABP, could and should be expanding how vehicles are marshalled and increase the provision of more Border Force exit lanes. As I understand it, the port authorities provide the infrastructure and Border Force the personnel, or not. 

    If I`m right so far, maybe BF have approached ABP and been rebuffed. Makes you wonder just how committed they are to the Ro Ro berth, which doesnt seem to have had much spent on it in the recent past. Makes you wonder if its a case of take it or leave it...Would be a shame if it was.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Paully said:

If I`m right so far, maybe BF have approached ABP and been rebuffed. Makes you wonder just how committed they are to the Ro Ro berth, which doesnt seem to have had much spent on it in the recent past. Makes you wonder if its a case of take it or leave it...Would be a shame if it was.

They have spent money reorganising the embarkation lanes, perhaps they'll do something about arrivals soon as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We regularly use Roscoff Plymouth. French side, never delayed more than 30 mins. UK side 90 mins to 2 hours each time. OK, slightly less off season, but still terrible whereas we waltz through at Roscoff. Experience not opinion.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Solo said:

It also means priority loading as well, so they will have to guarantee to arrive at the port early.

That's not a problem. If you know that late arrival means you forfeit your place to the next person on a waiting list you WILL arrive on time. It all depends on whether you respect the 1 hour rule or not and how valuable your time is once back in the UK. Ed. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

On 12/09/2019 at 12:53, Paully said:

I`ll start of by saying that I have no knowledge of the port of Plymouth, nor am I keen to from what I have read on here. However, it seems that with imagination and investment, the owners ABP, could and should be expanding how vehicles are marshalled and increase the provision of more Border Force exit lanes. As I understand it, the port authorities provide the infrastructure and Border Force the personnel, or not. 

    If I`m right so far, maybe BF have approached ABP and been rebuffed. Makes you wonder just how committed they are to the Ro Ro berth, which doesnt seem to have had much spent on it in the recent past. Makes you wonder if its a case of take it or leave it...Would be a shame if it was.

Much of Plymouth port requires some form of investment. The terminal is functional, but not much more then that. The linkspan isn't in great nick either, and does require investment for the Long-Term I'd expect. Plymouth hasn't been invested in properly for a number of years, a shame. 

The layout of the port isn't ideal, and the queueing system before embarkation has changed in recent years and has helped, but there is little to no easy resolution to the current issues with disembarking. 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am surprised that Plymouth ABP has restructured the loading part of the port. The blockage in throughput has always been on the unloading part of the operation. Why don't they swop the loading and unloading streams over? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There’s plenty room to adapt the disembarking process you would think it wouldn’t be too complicated to do and alleviate some of the issues, hopefully I won’t be seeing it for too long tonight though, having a good sailing although o was astonished at the person in front of me in the bar on Armorique telling one of the barmen to “f ,,, right off “ for not selling him 3 packets of cigarettes. 

  • Like 2
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...