Crowded transport threat to London’s Olympics

Transport problems could yet wreck the smooth running of the London 2012 Games, a report has claimed.

It is still “one of the biggest risks” to the event, according to the London Assembly Transport Committee, which is concerned about the amount of extra transport capacity needed, the Olympic Route Network (ORN) and the reliance on people changing their normal travel behaviour for the 2012 plans to work.

Committee chairman Val Shawcross warns that London will face “extreme demand placed on a network already creaking at the seams” in 2012.

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Sports fans and visitors travelling to competitions and events will get caught up in it, but residents and businesses may also notice the impact, she said.

With up to 5.3 million expected at the Games in total, more than a million Olympic-related journeys are predicted to be triggered on public transport over the busiest nine days. This is when about 550,000 to 650,000 tickets would be up for grabs to spectators travelling to venues across London.

Despite transport improvements the network is already running at near to top capacity.

There are also 22 anticipated “travel hot spots” in 2012, including some of London’s most congested roads and tube stations which already suffer chronic overcrowding.

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There are the busy King’s Cross and Victoria stations, subject to regular overcrowding control measures, plus the Embankment and the southern approach to the Blackwall Tunnel which is already London’s busiest junction, the committee said.

The report said: “While on a good day the higher demand may be confined to a few ‘travel hotspots’, in the event of a broken-down train or a security incident, there would be a wider impact.

“Demand for transport services elsewhere is also possible as people seek alternative ways to make trips. Rail and tube passengers will experience many more delays, crowding and queuing.”

Friday August 3 and Saturday August 4 are forecast to be the busiest days.

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Transport for London has warned businesses will need to consider different ways of working and travelling, including home and flexible working, travelling at different times or walking and cycling more during the Games.

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