How to get around London during the 2012 Olympics
Since London won its bid to host the 2012 Olympics seven years ago, its already-crowded transport system has been a hot topic for debate by organisers and commuters alike.
If Transport for London’s predictions are correct, over the course of the Games there will be around one million extra people adding even more pressure to London’s public transport system.
To avoid congestion, TFL have pledged extra services for those visiting the Games and for Londoners going about their everyday business. Reminders have also been issued to the public to leave plenty of time for commutes as journeys may take longer than normal.
Plan your journey during the Games
Although the Tube is a popular mode of transport in the capital, London does provide more scenic ways to get around. The sports venues along the river Thames, such as Greenwich Park, North Greenwich Arena, Royal Artillery Barracks, Horse Guards Parade and Eton Dorney, can all be reached by boat.
Walking and cycling routes around the Games venues have been improved and all London 2012 venues will have free, secure cycle parking. London has an extensive bus network and there are bus stops near to all London 2012 venues as well as shuttle services from selected stations.
The DLR will serve London 2012 venues at the Olympic Park, ExCeL, Greenwich Park and the Royal Artillery Barracks. London 2012 organisers have also identified taxi drop-off points close to the venues.
Motorists have been warned to avoid central London and areas around all Olympic venues from mid-July onwards, especially during the week before the opening ceremony as athletes, officials and media arrive. It is important to note there will be no spectator parking at the venues, apart from a limited number of spaces for disabled visitors, which must be booked in advance.
Spectators with a ticket for a London 2012 sporting event or ceremony will receive a one-day Games Travelcard for the day of the event allowing free travel within Zones 1 to 9.
Services on the Tube, DLR and Overground will generally start between 05:00 and 05:30 except on Sundays, when services will start at around 06:30. Services on the Tube, DLR and Overground will run later on all days. Stations with lifts may receive a high level of demand when certain sporting events are taking place.
At these times, the bus may provide a good alternative; however, some bus routes will be diverted and/or disrupted due to road closures. The TFL website will carry any important travel information and should be checked before travelling.
For many, of course, the trip to London this summer will be their first, and they will find that there is much to see aside from the Games. So, whether you choose to take a trip on the London Eye, have a shopping spree in the West End, or see a show at a London theatre, there are plenty of activities and attractions that can provide a welcome break from all the rushing around.
Photo credit: Graham Soult