Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Chaos once again

Fred. Olsen and Armas ferries in the port of Los Cristianos

The past weekend once again brought traffic chaos to the port of Los Cristianos as many more people were travelling to and from the western Canary Islands through the Tenerife port due to the end of the Christmas holiday season. All the traffic has to pass through the bottleneck of the port access road in Los Cristianos and the congested port itself, where several lanes of disembarking vehicles have to go through the small roundabout into the single lane that then has to pass through the centre of the town. It often happens that two or three ferries arrive at the same time leading to delays in berthing the ships, and parked cars and trucks waiting to board add to the traffic congestion. The ferry companies' sailings also often serve two islands during one trip, i.e. stopping over at La Gomera on the way to and from La Palma. When two ferries arrive at the same time in Los Cristanos discharging hundreds of cars and trucks and even more foot passengers laden with luggage, delays are inevitable. Be warned and expect hold-ups of up to one hour if you need to catch a flight, as taxis and buses often can't get in nor out of the busy port during peak times. The traffic delays sometimes also upset the ferries' sailing schedules and the past weekend's heavy seas added further problems, resulting in some visitors missing their flights home.

The complications are particularly serious on weekends, the busiest time for traffic to and from La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro, but no-one appears to have a solution for the long queues of vehicles at a virtual standstill for up to an hour in some cases. Port Police do their best to keep the traffic moving but are severely hampered by the narrow exit. The often heavy traffic through Los Cristianos town adds further delays on the road to the motorway. The negative image generated by the hold-ups also worries the officials and has led to calls for the ferry companies to work together to ensure their ships do not arrive at the same time in Los Cristianos. La Gomera's president has suggested the new port of Granadilla in Tenerife's south could be used provisionally for at least some of the sailings. Los Cristianos is much too small a harbour for the current volume of traffic and additionally is used by numerous fishing vessels, excursion boats and pleasure craft. Passenger and vehicle numbers continue to grow every year and recent fare reductions for residents of the Canary Islands have produced an even steeper increase of traffic through Los Cristianos, a popular and very busy holiday resort, prone to congestion anyway.

1 comment :

Rob Olykan said...

We booked for the last Fred Olsen ferry, other options "were not available". At arrive at the port of Christiana we were told by Fred Olsen representatives there was a delay because of " the rough see". The competing company was boarding at that time, tickets were still available but we could not ask for return of our bookings at Fred Olsen because the delay was within their limit of 90 minutes. O.k. the sea WAS rough but at landing in San Sebastian 9.30 PM sharp, the last bus (our bus)to Hermigua had taken off, no taxi was available and the port was plain abandoned. We were not alone, 6 pers. even a pregnant woman with a small baby was waiting there for what was going to happen. The owner of the B&B had come and pick us up. WHY is there NO communication between ferries and the bus drivers? Why does one make a living receiving visitors while not being of service? It is a shame and it is very bad promotion but nobody seems to care.