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Royal Car-nage

Chaos, anger and frustration dominated the grounds of Windsor Castle as an ignorance of flow and agility led to cars queuing for hours to get out.

A sad end to a wonderful day at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in the elegant and iconic grounds overlooked by the castle. 

Leaving swiftly after the show jumping, we drove through the parking fields and were among the first to join the queue to the exit driveway. We knew there would be a bottleneck with hundreds of cars leaving on this driveway. Full of good humour, we were prepared for a bit of a wait. 

We waited and waited. We watched as the line of show traffic (lorries, vans etc) got priority and merrily drove out without queuing. 

The rest of us began to feel indignant at being ignored. Some started pushing into gaps between the queues increasing the lines of traffic for this one driveway. There was some hooting.

Noting the chaos, a steward standing next to our car said that they’d had the same problem the day before. We looked at each other. So why was it happening again?

After an hour, yes, an hour we reached the driveway. Slowly we crept along. We got to just one car away from the road. Unfortunately the road was rammed. To the left was virtually stationary, to the right was moving slowly.

We saw a sign, “All traffic turn left”. Of course, the left was hardly moving and we were relieved that we’d seen others turn right. We waited, and we waited while three police officers stood chatting and a rather inept and abandoned steward gave priority to cars already on the road. We were going nowhere.

20 minutes later tempers were fraying. Finally the abandoned steward spoke to the police and started letting us out. Except, we had to turn left. Yes we had to go into the solid traffic and continue the bottleneck. 

No amount of reasoning made a difference. We went left and sat in traffic. Then at the first opportunity, we did a U-turn in an entrance way. Finally we moved. As we passed the exit to Windsor Castle we saw another driver arguing with the steward about turning left. 

A disappointing end to a wonderful day. 

Where was the agility? Why not improve flow by managing the queues for the driveway? Why not allow traffic to turn right onto the road? 

On noting the problem the previous day, why not find another exit or educate stewards about managing queues? 

The impact of bad queue management led to people queue jumping, arguing with stewards and doing U-turns to get around the rules. Utter car-nage. Next time we’ll adapt and rent a parking space outside the castle grounds. That’s agile.

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