I WRITE in reply to the letter "It's the best Christmas ever" (November 19).

I am no Scrooge, and from what little I've seen of the lights through the gardens as I drive over the pier flyover, I have to say they look really good.

I am pleased that events like this bring people into the town centre.

However, the traffic and crowd management have to be improved, especially as there is little that can be done to the infrastructure of the roads. And this is for all events like this.

I have been a bus driver for over 10 years, and a resident of the area all my life. What I witnessed last Friday with the crowds in Gervis Place was the worst I have ever seen. No air show or fireworks night has, in my memory, ever this bad.

Normally, the biggest issue with the town centre are the car parks. Once the seafront car park, and the Pavilion car parks are full, people still try to get into them, causing the traffic to back up Bath Hill. During the air show, the pier is closed to all traffic except buses, and this helps. But it is not feasible to do this for short running events.

In fact, one of the problems on Friday was traffic queuing into Exeter Crescent (behind the Odeon complex). This caused the traffic to back up to the BIC roundabout and the Triangle.

But the biggest issue of the night was the choke point that is the crossing between the Square and Lower Gardens, outside Debenhams. The constant flow of pedestrians with no visible marshalling at first was causing significant issues. And when the traffic was allowed to flow, it could only do so in one direction due to the width of the road at that point. Then as the train of buses and taxis, and motorists that can't read (or simply ignore) a buses only sign proceeds, they get to a point where they can go no further and block everything.

Eventually, there were marshals there, starting with one bus driver who was just trying to keep things flowing, with eventually six or seven security personnel physically restraining the crowds.

There are several reasons why I think the crowds were so bad, and they are cumulative.

1. It was early evening, but after school and on a night where there is no school the following day.

2. It was dry and mild – Britain's unpredictable weather often thins crowds.

3. It was the first event of its type, new things attract crowds.

4. The Christmas Market takes up too much space in the square, once people had managed to get across the crossing, they had nowhere else to go.

So the question then is what can be done to ease this in the future?

From my perspective, removing the cycle lanes between the Lansdowne and the top of Bath Hill and replacing them with a bus lane would be helpful in improving the punctuality of our services. Also, a give way or box junction at the end of the bus stop on the top of Bath Hill.

Closing the flyover, I do not think is practical for short events, and would need permanent matrix signs to be even remotely feasible.

Better car park management, with marshals blocking entry when full is effective, but needs to be in place. And this isn't just during events, but also in the height of summer.

Maybe the market should be moved into the gardens (upper or lower), as it's an absolute nightmare at present. And a temporary (or permanent) bridge could be erected over the crossing – or the old subway that ran from the Lower Gardens and came up outside WH Smith could be reinstated!

JONATHAN BOND, Cranleigh Road, Southbourne