Calais Ash

The currency of a disaster is information.

The stupid departure board

Once again, that Eyjafjallajoekull volcanic ash eruption marked a painful ordeal of little or no information.

Firstly if my 100EUR Easyjet flight home from Geneva was cancelled earlier and not 8hrs before the flight was about to take off, I could have travelled with my sister to Holland. #easyjetfail

Instead of trying to get to Paris from a crowded Geneva station in the afternoon, I thought it was wiser to go to Zurich and stay with some friends.

The train fare to Zurich was 50EUR, quite expensive, though I reasoned it would be worth it for the good hospitality.

The next day Jamie my determined travelling partner thought it we should catch the train to Calais. And that we did, via Basel, Strasbourg, Paris and Lille. We heard there were strikes (no idea where) and we had no idea or not if the train fare was a fair one at 200+EUR.

After arriving at the wrong Calais terminal 20 minutes before the last ferry that night was leaving, I was pretty frustrated. By the time I arrived at the terminal I was seriously depressed by the long queue.

There was no information when the next ferry was or how much it cost. By midnight I was exhausted and thanks to Wikitravel we found a 19EUR hostel to spend the night in. Unfortunately it's WIFI did not work.

This was a wise decision considering if we caught the 3am ferry (that's assuming that was the next one), arrived about 3:30 BST and then had to somehow get to the Dover train station and wait for the first train to London.

Instead we caught the P&O ferry for 65EUR (expensive!) at 11am. That's after queuing in the Sea France queue and missing their earlier departure.

In an ideal world busy transport hubs I needed to pass through would have free Internet access. No login required. So I would have a chance to find the latest information.

Next a hub could provide power sockets to charge various internet devices.

British consulate officials could help disseminate information and provide ways of calling loved ones in Britain.

Co-ordination is the problem. The foot passenger queues were not processed fast enough, so ferries left Calais with plenty of free room for passengers.

There are no organised buses from Calais Frethun to the horrid passenger entrance. Once arriving in Dover, there are too infrequent buses from terminal to London. Just one every hour.

As mentioned on twitter, the UK government sending Royal Navy boats to "unspecified Channel ports" is absurd. FERRIES ARE NOT FULL.

Mon, 19 Apr 2010 09:37:57 -0700

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