Over a quarter of coach operators won’t use Eurotunnel again, says CPT survey

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A survey of coach operators has found that Eurotunnel’s removal of booking systems and increased tariffs are to blame for operators turning away from the Channel Tunnel service, with half of operators reporting that they have experienced increased costs

Over a quarter of coach operators who conduct international travel will not be using Eurotunnel in the future, according to a new survey. The survey from the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) also revealed that half of operators had experienced increased costs due to having to seek alternative sea crossings.

The news comes after Eurotunnel’s decision to remove the traditional online booking facility and increase tariffs for coaches during July and August. Commenting on the survey findings, Phil Smith, CPT’s Coaching Manager, said: “Eurotunnel’s withdrawal of the traditional online booking facility for coach operators and to greatly increase coach price tariffs for July and August has put an intolerable pressure on many coach operators. The results of this survey of our members confirms this. It has resulted in serious disruption to many operators and is especially felt when international coach travel was just beginning to re-establish itself.”

Another telling statistic was that of the 223 attempts that were made to book travel passages via Eurotunnel in July and August, only 19% were successful. Operators were quick to voice their concerns over the actions of Eurotunnel, with members describing the increased tariffs and removal of the booking facility a ‘disgrace’ and ‘greedy.’

Dave Parry, Managing Director of Parry’s International, said that after more than 26 years of almost exclusively using Eurotunnel passages for the short sea route to France, the company has had to change to using ferry services.

“This was due to the decision taken by Eurotunnel at short notice, to withdraw the long established online booking facility it provided for coaches needing to use their service in the peak July and August summer 2022 period,” said Dave. “This, coupled with the greatly increased prices that accompanied their decision, threw our planned coach holiday programme into chaos.

“Eurotunnel’s disgraceful lack of concern for the impact of their actions on coach passengers and operators in this critical post-covid summer 2022 season is simply unacceptable and in future Parry’s will prioritise its business with the ferry companies.”

Another operator told CPT that it would be withdrawing from international travel altogether due to Eurotunnel’s decision.

Phil added: “We continue to call on Eurotunnel to permanently reinstate their booking facility and realistic tariffs for coach operators. Their decision has had a negative impact on both coach operators and wider international coach tourism.”

Parry’s International says it has had to change to ferry services. RICHARD SHARMAN