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London braces for Olympic traffic

posted 31 Jan 2012, 05:16 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 31 Jan 2012, 05:18 ]
 
Concerns are rising about the ability of London's transport network to cope with traffic during the Olympics. London Mayor Boris Johnson is urging Olympic dignitaries to take public transport instead of chauffeur-driven limousines to help avoid traffic jams.
 
UK-OLYMPICS TRANSPORT - The London Olympics is less than 6 months away and the city is working out how to cope with the extra three million visitors in an already overcrowded city.

London's major Boris Johnson says he'll be using public transport to get to the games and urges VIPs to do the same.

LONDON MAYOR BORIS JOHNSON SAYING:

"Every possible exhortation has been given to Sepp Blatter other members of the IOC, all the Olympic family and their wives that they should understand the best most sensible way of getting around London in Games time is to go by public transport and I am certainly going to be doing that myself."

The main games will last just over two weeks.

Thousands of foreign visitors will be travelling around the capital each day putting a huge strain on London's ageing transport system.

Many fear London will grind to a halt but officials say commuters and sports fans will benefit from a 6.5 billion pound investment programme.

Peter Hendy is London's Transport Commissioner.

PETER HENDY, LONDON TRANSPORT COMMISSIONER, SAYING:

"London is a historic city and the Games are in inner London which is unusual for Games within a developed city. So the transport system is old, the road network is old, we don't have the opportunity of five-lane highways as they did in Beijing, so we have got to plan much more carefully to ensure that we can get ticket holders to their events, we can get athletes to their events and yet we can get the city to not only carry on but prosper during these really exciting Games."

Londoners have been warned they could face delays to their journey of up to 30 minutes during peak times.

The Olympic stadium at Stratford is just a few stops from the city's financial centre Canary Wharf.

ALISTAIR CAMERON, CANARY WHARF WORKER, SAYING:

"It is already pretty disastrous when there is a minor delay, so the numbers they are talking about I don't see how it possibly won't affect routes."

ISABELLA BULIGAN, CANARY WHARF WORKER, SAYING:

"It's hardly working with the millions you see everyday commuting to Canary Wharf, by June or so we are going to have more people here so I don't think this is going to work."

Specially designated Games Lanes will be set up on the city's roads to ferry the 80,000 athletes, their support teams and some sponsors.

But taxi drivers won't be allowed to use them,

JAMES BUDLOWTHER, TAXI DRIVER, SAYING:

"I'm going to Spain, get out the way. I can't stand it. It's enough with the traffic now, you know, without going when the Olympics start. Can you imagine what it's going to be like? Chaos."

Companies have been asked to help ease congestion by asking staff to work from home or alter their hours.

But it's feared disruption to the working day could ending up costing millions in lost business.

Hayley Platt, Reuters.

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