Paralympics creates 'new and unique challenges' for London's transport system


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The Independent Online

The public transport system, which coped well with the Olympics, will face "some new and unique challenges" from the Paralympics.

The Paralympics are much smaller than the Olympics but part of the Games will take place during school term time.

Also, interest in the Paralympics has increased following the success of the Olympics, with around 2.5 million tickets sold.

London's Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy said: "We already know the London 2012 Paralympic Games will see the most spectators in its history, which is fantastic.

"While these Games are smaller in scale than the Olympics, they are still the world's second largest sporting event. And with the new school year beginning in the second week and larger groups expected to travel together on the public transport network, we expect these Games to hold some new and unique challenges.

"We're confident that transport will cope well during the Paralympic Games, as it did during the Olympics, provided businesses and Londoners continue to plan and change the way or time that they travel, using the tools and information available at"

The first of the Paralympics Games lanes - on the M4 in west London - is already in operation, with the rest of the special lanes coming into operation next Wednesday, the first day of the Paralympics.

The extent of the lanes and of the Paralympic Route Network (PRN) is much smaller than for the Olympics. There are 8.7 miles of Games lanes and the PRN is concentrated on the City of London and venues in the east of London.

During the Paralympics, motorists are urged to avoid driving around the PRN routes and venues, particularly around the Olympic Park in Stratford and on the A102 approach roads north and south of the Blackwall Tunnel.

The A2, A12 and A13 routes into London are also expected to be busier than usual, particularly in the morning peak.

But the West End of London will be much less busy during the Paralympics than during the Olympics.

However, there are expected to be around 215,000 people a day travelling on most days to the Olympic Park - about the same as during the Olympics.

Busy stretches of the Tube are expcted to be Waterloo to Stratford on the Jubilee line, Holborn to Stratford on the Central line, and the whole of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR).

Key main line stations such as King's Cross, St Pancras, London Bridge, Paddington, Waterloo and Victoria are expected to be busier than normal.

As during the Olympic Games, the Tube, the DLR and London Overground will run an hour later, with the last trains leaving central London and venues around 1.30am. Main line train companies will also operate additional services.

Transport Secretary Justine Greening said: "Once again we look forward to welcoming elite athletes across the world to London for 12 days of sporting prowess.

"Ever since London was awarded the Games, we have been working hard with all transport operators to make sure that athletes, coaches, families and spectators can get around as easily as possible. As a result, access across the transport network has been transformed.

"This investment will create a lasting legacy and demonstrate the Government's firm commitment to improving accessibility for people with disabilities."