Londoners urged to 'travel differently' during Olympics

Peter Woodman
Wednesday 03 August 2011 09:43 BST

Londoners were today urged to "travel differently" during the Olympics, exactly one year ahead of the likeliest busy day for journeys during the 2012 Games.

On August 3 2012 it is predicted an extra three million trips will be made on top of the normal 12 million trips on public transport in the capital.

August 3 is the day the first track and field events will be held in the Olympics.

To mark the anniversary, Transport Minister Norman Baker visited BT's offices in the City of London as the company showed off new ways for businesses and individuals to work remotely from home and the office.

The Government is keen for commuters and Londoners to alter travel and work arrangements during the Games which begin on July 27 next year.

Commuters who live near work, or travel short distances within central London, are being urged to cycle or walk to work.

Those who live further away are being encouraged to try different routes, stagger their journey times to avoid the busiest periods, work remotely, or use video conferencing for meetings.

Mr Baker said: "The Games will be a once-in-a-generation test for both our transport system and our adaptability. As we edge ever closer to the Olympics, hand-in-hand with new investment must go new solutions.

"It's time to oil the creaking bike, dig out the walking boots, work out how to use the video conferencing equipment, and fire up the laptop gathering dust at the back of the cupboard."

Meanwhile, a Freight Transport Association (FTA) survey showed that fewer than 5% of freight companies felt "totally prepared" to deal with the potential disruption presented to the supply chain by the London Olympics.

More than 40% claimed they were "not at all prepared" in terms of hiring additional staff and vehicles.

The poll also found that around a third of respondents claim to have "no knowledge" of how the Games Lanes - the sections of roads dedicated to Olympic traffic - would operate.

Natalie Chapman, the FTA's head of policy for London, said: "Commercial vehicle operators need to know which roads will be affected and in what ways - for example, will left-hand turns be banned or will loading and unloading restrictions be imposed?

"How else can they be expected to keep up with the additional strain on demand that the Olympics is set to bring?"

She went on: "The logistics sector can't rise to the challenge unless it knows the parameters within which it is supposed to operate.

"For the Olympics to be remembered for all the right reasons, we would like this information to be made available well before the end of the year, the time to which Transport for London and the Olympic Delivery Authority seem to be working towards.

"In the meantime, industry can help fill this vacuum by working with its customers - the retailers, grocers, hospitality outlets - to identify and circumvent potential problems."


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