Coach Security

Guidance on Coach Security for International Travel

With the current level of threat to national security, operators of the Ports and Channel Tunnel face increased requirements to ensure the security of their property, the ships, and trains that transit the Channel Tunnel.

As a result, coaches may be subject to search by a number of authorities for several reasons, including for the protection of the ship, port or Channel Tunnel. If Channel Tunnel or Port Security is not satisfied with any security aspect of a coach or its passengers or crew they may refuse travel. It is therefore in your own operating interests and also more widely for security and safety of all those using cross-channel systems to ensure that the possibility of this happening is reduced.

The following guidance is designed to provide general advice to Coach Companies and their staff; in order to promote coach security and reduce the risk of delay due to security related concerns.

  • Information for Coach Passengers who have Lost or Stolen passports

    There has been an increase in the number of UK citizens arriving at Eurotunnel Calais terminal having had their UK passport stolen or it has been lost. As you can appreciate, there are a number of checks that the UK Border Agency have to complete before allowing passengers entry back to the UK. This may cause lengthy waiting periods for your coach and customers - in some cases - the scheduled departure has been missed.

    With the aim to reducing the possible waiting period, before arriving at Eurotunnel terminal, please ask your coach driver to ensure that all passengers have a valid UK passport in their possession. In the event of a customer reporting a lost or stolen passport, please ask the driver to complete the attached form, which MUST be faxed to UK Border Agency before the scheduled return crossing time. This will allow UK Border Agency teams to perform the necessary checks prior to the coach travelling which should help minimise any delay.

    Please fax completed form to 0044 1303 284699

    Click here to download the UK Border Agency Lost and Stolen Passport Notification form

  • Control of Passengers Boarding and Leaving a Coach

    Coach crew should ensure that no person is permitted to board a coach without a legitimate reason and only on production of a valid form of authorisation, such as a ticket or pass for that particular journey.

    Passengers not wishing to travel must inform a member of the Coach crew, who should amend their records accordingly and ensure that any accompanying baggage for the passenger is removed before travel.

    Coach crew should ensure that the number of passengers on board the coach matches their records for that journey, and should do this at the beginning of the journey and also whenever passengers re-board after any stops.

  • Luggage Reconciliation and Unaccompanied Baggage

    It is imperative that when loading the vehicle, all baggage must be reconciled with passengers using your company for that particular journey. If a coach search is undertaken and any baggage found that cannot be accounted for (including items left from previous journeys), it could result in a significant delay whilst the baggage is removed and checked, or the coach being refused travel.

    Coach crew should ensure that they alone are responsible for loading and unloading all baggage, and that they are content that no items have been loaded or unloaded by passengers or any other member of the public.

    It is advisable that Coach Companies should have a simple but effective manifest or tagging system to provide baggage reconciliation. It is advisable for Coach Companies to develop procedures ensure that all luggage is fully checked and accounted for prior to travel. This would greatly speed the identification of passengers' baggage in the normal search routine and would help to reduce the time required for searching a coach.

    If unaccompanied baggage is discovered en-route to the Channel Tunnel or Ports, the Coach crew should immediately contact their Company and make arrangements for it to be removed at the earliest opportunity. It is unlikely that such luggage will be allowed to travel even if subject to screening by the Port/Channel Tunnel Operator. Arrangements should be put in place to recover such luggage as soon as possible.

    If unaccompanied baggage is being carried knowingly, the Coach Company should inform the appropriate Port or Channel Tunnel Operator prior to arrival. The Company should explain the reason that the baggage is unaccompanied and what action is to be taken to remove the item(s). Please note that it is unlikely that coaches will be permitted to travel unless unaccompanied items are removed altogether and thoroughly checked for any suspicious items or devices by the Port or Channel Tunnel Operator.

    Any unaccompanied baggage found by the Port or Channel Tunnel Operator or surrendered by the Coach Company will not be returned to the coach. You should make arrangements to collect any such luggage as soon as possible.

  • En Route Stops

    If any stops are being made to collect additional passengers, or for comfort breaks, the Coach crew should ensure that no baggage is removed unless there is a valid reason, and that this luggage is accounted for when the journey resumes. Coach crew should also ensure that all passengers produce a valid ticket or pass when boarding or re-boarding the coach.

    Searching of Luggage by Port or Channel Tunnel Operator and Police

    Port or Channel Tunnel Operators are permitted to search any public vehicle travelling through their system, and may, where necessary, involve the Police in this process. This includes searching of the Coach itself and all baggage carried on it.

    Transport Security Directorate place requirements on Port and Channel Tunnel Operators to search a certain number of vehicles, depending upon the current levels of threat. Refusal to submit to a search, if requested, is likely to result in your coach being refused carriage.

  • Securing of Coach

    Coach crew should ensure that the vehicle is left locked and secured when unaccompanied or at any designated stops, such as the beginning of a journey, any en-route stops or when the journey has been completed.

    This should include checking that all windows, doors and baggage holds are locked or secured. If passengers wish to re-board the coach for any reason during a designated stop, they should be accompanied at all times by a member of the Coach crew.

  • Searching of Coach

    It is advisable that Coach crew should thoroughly check the interior of the coach both before passengers board and after the journey has been made, to ensure that no suspicious items have been placed. This search should include all areas of the coach including under seats, luggage compartments, overhead lockers and toilets.

    Also, it is advisable that Coach Companies or Coach crew make a full security check of the coach before it undertakes any journey, including the interior of the coach, any baggage or other holds and the underside of the vehicle.

  • Advice and Guidance

    Should you have any questions on the information contained in this letter, please contact the Land Transport Division on 020 7944 2783, or write to TRANSEC LT, Department for Transport, 5th Floor, Southside, 105 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6DT.