Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Did you have a nightmare journey on the SDR?

Today the South Wales Argus asks...

Did you have a nightmare journey on the SDR?

WERE you stuck on the SDR yesterday? We had reports of people stuck for four to five hours due to the bad snow.

...Well, yes I did. The roads all around Newport yesterday afternoon were gridlocked. I was driving my coach down the A449 towards Newport when the telephone rang. Darren in the Cardiff office told me that there were severe delays along the M4 motorway around Newport and to use an alternative route. Rather than sit in a traffic jam along the motorway, I took Darren's advice and went into Newport along the old Chepstow road. I left the Coldra Roundabout at 14.30 and after a short distance I came to a halt. The traffic then crawled all the way into Newport city centre and I arrived at Newport Bus Station at 16.15 - my advertised arrival time was 13.15 - so my service was now running 3 hours late! Okay, this 3 hour lateness was not only due to the delays along the Chepstow Road, a journey that should have taken about 15 minutes rather than 1 hour 45 minutes. The nationwide company had decided to hold back my coach for 43 minutes in Birmingham for a connecting service that did not arrive into the station before I departed. There was reduced speeds along the M50 and A449 due to snow on the road but the Newport delays along the Chepstow Road still added 90 minutes to my journey!

The maximum a coach driver can drive without a break in the UK is 4 hours 30 minutes after which he must take a minimum 45 minute rest break. When I got to Newport Bus Station I only had 15 minutes driving time available, so I and my 15 passengers had to take a 45 minute break. I left Newport Bus Station at 17.00 and was determined not to get caught in the motorway traffic. I drove towards the SDR - Southern Distributor Road - the A48 as it is only 5 minutes drive from the bus station. I got to the traffic lights with the SDR and the traffic was at gridlock. Eventually I crossed the junction onto the SDR and it was a lengthy sequence of stop, crawl a few metres, then stop for ages. At 19.45 the traffic started moving at a steady 10 mph - I was queueing near the transporter bridge, what would normally be a 10 minute drive from the bus station NOT 2 hours and 45 minutes! These lengthy traffic delays in Newport alone added some 4 hours extra time behind the wheel.

I arrived in Cardiff Central Station at 20.30 - some 6 hours 45 minutes late.
I think it was u I saw in Newport bus station. I was over 2 hours late getting in and decided to continue with my journey to Cardiff despite being well over my hours because I had babies and old people on board and I wanted to get them home.

I think you should have gone onto the M4 from Newport as it only took me 40 minutes to get to Cardiff.

I willm say that peoples poor driving was one of the reasons for the sheer congestion. People seemed to be over compensating for the bad weather and driving at 5-10mph on the motorway when 30-40mph would have been easily achieved quite safely.
Yes, I saw a 509 Cardiff pull in on my left. I was sat half way down on the right hand side of my Jonckheere bodied Volvo, eating a Mars bar and reading last man standing by David Baldacci. I was not snubbing you Matthew, you know what I am like with my rest breaks - quality reading time!

I agree with you about the poor driving standards from private motor car drivers dawdling along. My passengers were very grateful they had a 45 minute break before staring at the transporter bridge for 2 hours 30 minutes.
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