Continued disruption to Tube services today, that will see commuters face massive delays on their journey home, has fuelled fears that the 150-year-old system is unequal to the extra demand expected during the Olympics.
On Wednesday a Thames Water pipe burst in the Mile End area caused flooding on the Central line track and suspended services between Leytonstone and Bethnal Green. The suspension, which was still in place at 4pm this afternoon, added to the disruption already caused by severe post-bank holiday delays on the Bakerloo and Jubliee lines.
Although the threat of strike action during the Olympics was averted by a pay deal in May, RMT union leader Bob Crow has warned the system will make London a “laughing stock” when the Games open in 50 days. "We repeat our call for an urgent investigation into just why the Tube has been reduced to daily chaos just weeks away from the city's biggest ever transport challenge,” he said.
He adds his voice to that of Labour Transport Spokesperson, Val Shawcross who last month called on London Mayor Boris Johnson to “get a grip” of the Tube following a series of delays.
TFL have so far focussed their Olympic planning on encouraging commuters to work from home or seek alternative transport methods during the Games. Last year they published a list of hotspots which Londoners are advised to avoid. The hope is that London will follow the example of Sydney's 2000 Olympics, when 27 per cent of workers took leave.