Coach company boss says roads play havoc with firm

HOLIDAY company boss Roger Elsmere has spoken of the chaos caused to his business by the crowded roads around Bognor Regis.

Mr Elsmere said the conditions were so dire it was impossible to work out when coaches and taxis would arrive at their destinations.

“The biggest problem we encounter is with our door-to-door service when we pick people up from their homes in taxis and take them to their pick-up points.

“If they are stuck on the A27, it can go wrong. We end up paying the taxi driver for sitting there doing nothing and they want to be earning more money elsewhere.

“We also have four coaches taking students to Seaford College. Their arrival times are chaotic.”

Mr Elsmere is the managing director of Woods Travel, Woods Holidays and the Sussex Cruise Club based on Aldwick Road.

Woods has 17 coaches. The firm was recently named the top small coach fleet operator in the UK Coach Awards for the second year running.

He said the traffic conditions led to his staff over-compensating for the length of journeys to take holiday-makers to ports and airports.

“If there are no problems, and they get there a couple of hours early, they moan about having to get up so early.

“But we can’t be late. The ships and planes are not going to wait for us.”

Mr Elsmere’s comments came at this month’s meeting of Bognor Regis Chamber of Commerce’s executive committee.

As reported, the chamber has backed the A27 Action campaign. President and chairman Nick Stuart-Nicolson said improvements to the notoriously congested road were up against six road schemes around the country for government funding.

“The A27 Campaign is of vital importance to show central government that there should be free-flowing traffic along the whole length of the A27 and we are urging all Bognor businesses to support it,” he said.

Adding, the delays along the road added to the frequently gridlocked A259 and the poor A29, with its Woodgate crossing, to create a feeling of gridlocked isolation for the town. “The delays along these connecting routes is hugely detrimental to the local economy,” he said.

Committee member Jim Brooks said the crossing’s queues were so long at peak time motorists could wait for the gates to open three times before some could get across.

A £13m grant towards a southern link on the road was good news, along with Rolls-Royce’s arrival. But pressure had to kept on for more cash.