THE call by city council Leader Simon Letts for action to ensure Southampton does not face another roads gridlock from hell on the scale of last Friday is to be welcomed.

Far better, however, that the city had not faced the three-hour delays and indignities that ensued last week when jams created by the arrival of five cruise ships and ongoing roadworks made life more than uncomfortable for residents and visitors alike.

The indignity of car passengers, including the elderly, having to urinate in the gutter, and cruise guests being forced to drag their suitcases in the rain to the start of their holidays was not the city’s finest hour.

Southampton’s status as a cruise port is not so secure that it can treat its visitors in such a way when other ports look enviously at our commerce and jobs.

That this was the third such traffic chaos in a short period of time makes the inactivity of those in authority inexcusable. Where were the police to direct traffic? Where were the warnings to business and taxi firms?

No one expects a city like Southampton to be traffic jam free all of the time. But last Friday’s events were predictable and should have been avoided.