On your marks, get set, go (the long way to your venue)
Official travel advice to spectators visiting 2012 Games will give them a real test of endurance
Olympic ticket holders will be asked to make convoluted journeys to venues in an attempt to prevent human gridlock at public transport hotspots creating misery for commuters and causing would-be spectators to miss the events they have paid to see.
Transport for London is about to launch a campaign urging millions of spectators to avoid the obvious routes to Olympic venues, amid fears that parts of the public transport network will not cope if everybody tries to travel the same way. There is particular concern over the Jubilee Line, the primary route to both the Olympic Park in Stratford and several major events in Greeenwich, which is already used by hundreds of thousands of city workers going to and from Canary Wharf. London Bridge station, where many mainline commuter trains terminate and workers connect to Jubilee Line, is expected to experience particular problems, with spectators unable to board already full underground services.
TfL has been encouraging businesses to change their working patterns to ease overcrowding during the Games. For the next six months, its focus will be on spectators. TfL will tell ticket holders to consult a dedicated Olympic journey planner, with the aim of spreading travellers more evenly.
Those heading to equestrian events at Greenwich Park via London Bridge, for example, will be asked to travel to Cannon Street, in the opposite direction, then pass back through London Bridge again on their way to the venue. Spectators are also being advised to add at least an hour to their expected journey time to allow for "airport-style security at venue" and "unforeseen delays on the transport network".
Even if the advice is heeded, TfL predicts waiting times at crucial interchanges, such as Bond Street, where the Jubilee and Central Lines connect, will be longer than normal. Things could be worse if the advice is ignored, TfL modelling shows. At the busiest points on its network – such as the already swamped Bank station, where many lines including several likely Olympic routes connect – passengers travelling between 4pm and 9pm could wait more than half an hour to board a tube train.
When Olympics tickets are sent out they will come with generic travel advice, but recipients will also be told to start planning their travel far in advance. Two people travelling from the same place, to the same event, might be given different travel suggestions by the special journey planner.
For events in the Olympic Park itself, spectators will be advised to travel to different stations depending on the specific venue. The three stations serving the park – Stratford, Stratford International and West Ham – are each particularly convenient for particular venues. At West Ham, a temporary walkway will connect the station to the Olympic Park.
Gymnasts may take Olympics fight to court
Great Britain's rhythmic gymnasts may launch a legal challenge after they failed to make a minimum standard, set by themselves, to compete in the Olympic Games.
In a test event at the North Greenwich Arena on Tuesday, Britain failed to achieve, by only 0.273 points, the target set by British Gymnastics that would allow them a wild-card place as the host team. Their training was largely funded by the girls' parents.
Brian Hutchinson, whose daughter Lynne, 17, is in the team, said a lawyer's letter had been sent to British Gymnastics asking for clarification.
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