Will London's transport system cope with the Olympics?
David Cameron says that the Olympics and Paralympics could boost the UK's economy by £13bn in the next four years. Besides the glamour and all the action, there will be some problems that will affect not only Olympics tourists, but Londoners in general.
PR9.NET July 09, 2012 - David Cameron says that the Olympics and Paralympics could boost the UK's economy by £13bn in the next four years. London will be in the spotlight during 3 weeks. Besides the glamour and all the action, there will be some problems that will affect not only Olympics tourists, but Londoners in general.
Organisers are determined that spectators will get to the Games by public transport, bicycle, or on foot. This will bring 3 million extra journeys every day and it is going to put the London's transport system under a tremendous strain. Up to one million extra visitors are expected in London on each day of the Games and there will be up to 1,300 Games Family vehicles an hour travelling between key venues.
Air fly controls will have to cope with near 4,000 extra flies and the constant threat of a terrorist attack. Most planes will take off or land at Heathrow where the luggage system will came under huge pressure. The airport claims that 500 extra staff has been hired for the Olympics to fix the problem.
Heathrow has also been equipped with a new temporary terminal, reserved for Olympic competitors, which will operate for departures from August 13 to 15, the three days after the closing ceremony which are expected to be the busiest. Also new is a cable car running above the Thames, which will allow people to travel between two major venues, the O2 Arena in Greenwich, which hosts gymnastics and other sports, and the ExCel exhibition centre, the venue for boxing and other disciplines. A fast train, the Javelin, will ferry spectators to the Olympic Park in east London, from St Pancras, where the cross-Channel Eurostar trains arrive, in seven minutes.
Transport for London has warned delays will be inevitable, but cites its "good" management of last month's celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee, when traffic jumped by a third for a weekend, as proof it can handle the Olympics.
At peak capacity, the seven railway lines serving Stratford can handle 240,000 passengers an hour. That would be fine if Games demand was spread through the day, and nobody else in London needed to use those services. But the demands of broadcasters mean that events in the most popular disciplines, such as athletics and swimming, tend to be scheduled in two blocks, one from roughly 10am to 1pm and the other from about 7pm to 10pm. So, people going to or from the Olympic Park will have to make at least one of their journeys in rush hour. Even if it all works perfectly, the busiest stations will be swamped. At London Bridge, charts on the Games website show that you will have to queue for more than 30 minutes to board a Tube train during the morning and evening peaks, and up to 15 minutes even at 10.30pm. On the worst day, August 9, there will be six hours in total of half-hour-plus delays. Will Londoners cope with that during 3 weeks?
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