London underground and bus services 'coping' with Olympic Super Saturday, say officials

 

London's transport system was coping well with the huge crowds on Super Saturday - one of the busiest days of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Tube and train services were busy but moving, transport officials said.

There was a good service on all London Underground lines as hundreds of thousands of people made their way to events across the capital, on a day when 25 gold medals are up for grabs, including for Team GB heptathlon star Jessica Ennis at the Olympic Park in Stratford.

Transport for London said it was expecting 200,000 people to head to east London to watch Ennis and fellow medal prospects including Mo Farah in the 10,000m and cycling's women's team pursuit.

Thousands more were in central London to watch the Olympic triathlon, where Helen Jenkins was bidding to add to Britain's gold tally, plus beach volleyball at Horse Guards Parade and the equestrian events in Greenwich Park.

London's transport commissioner Peter Hendy said: "Yesterday was the busiest day of the Games so far, as the athletics got under way in the Olympic Stadium.

"We got everyone to their Games events on time and kept London moving and open for business.

"We expect it to be busy again today."

The weather in London held true to the forecast of sunshine and showers, with one heavy early-morning downpour resulting in a slippery road for the triathlon around Hyde Park, resulting in several crashes during the cycle phase.

Tubes were already busy on the Piccadilly Line early this morning and there were reports that it was standing room only on early trains to the capital from places including Brighton, while the Southeastern rail company said queues on its Javelin services to Stratford were moving fast.

Train operators will provide more than two million extra seats this weekend as the Olympics builds up to what is predicted to be one of its busiest phases, the Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc) said.

Additional services will be put on first thing in the morning and into the early hours the next day.

People getting to the Olympic Park yesterday morning were affected by a suspension on the Central line for an hour, caused by a signal failure in the Bethnal Green area, which led to queues of up to 40 minutes for the Javelin, according to traffic information service Inrix.

There were also delays of just under an hour on the Docklands Light Railway between Stratford and Canary Wharf because of a signal failure at Poplar, and some traffic problems on the roads around Earls Court in west London due to a burst water main, the firm said.

The capital's transport operators were given a vote of confidence by commuter group London Travelwatch.

Sharon Grant, the group's chairwoman, said that, while there had been some problems, the disruption caused had been minimal.

"So far our transport operators have excelled themselves, in managing both unprecedented passenger flows, and the expected minor breakdowns on the system," she said.

"London commuters have also responded very well indeed to their advice and deserve some recognition."

TfL said that the signal failure on the DLR yesterday lasted for four minutes, with disruption for a couple of minutes after that as the service got back to normal.

The Underground saw its record for the most number of passengers carried broken twice this week, with Wednesday seeing 4.25 million and then 4.31 million the following day, it said. Numbers for Friday are still being collated.

PA

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