The Olympic Games are nearly here. While I hope we can all focus on the sport, it’s important that we get prepared to deal with the impact on our daily transport routine. While some journeys will be extremely busy, others will not be that different to normal.
Last week I met with several senior officers working for National Rail to talk about the impact that the Olympics will have on transport for those of us who live in Croydon but commute into London.
They told me that almost all spectators will travel by public transport, with 80 per cent expected to use the train. 4,000 extra services will run to cope with extra numbers, but for some journeys it will be very busy for commuters and visitors alike.
The key thing is to check www.getaheadofthegames.com, to see how your journey or station may be affected. If, for example, you regularly use London Bridge, the Jubilee line or the Central line, it will be really handy to know when it will be busiest and what alternative route you could use.
London Bridge is expected to be the most congested railway station during the Games. To avoid dangerous overcrowding, there will be a crowd management system at the station and at the busiest times you’ll be directed to enter and exit in different places to normal. During the Games, if there is another route you can take to get to and from work that avoids London Bridge, even if it seems a bit longer, this may actually save you time.
Monday 30 July looks to be the busiest day for London Bridge because of the Equestrian events at Greenwich Park. Therefore, between 18:00-22:00 you will not be able to get to platforms 1-6 for First Capital Connect services. If you need to get on one of these trains, you are recommended to go to Blackfriars or Farringdon. While you’ll still be able to use Southern trains to Croydon on platforms 8-16, they may be even fuller than usual.
For people coming home from central London late at night there will be four or five extra trains running from London Victoria. These will all stop at East Croydon and sometime Selhurst too. The first will leave at 12.25am and the last at 1.45am. Regular users of the 12.05am train should be aware that this will now leave 35 minutes later at 12.40am.
There are a few ways you can make your journey better - go by a different route if your normal one looks busy; go at a different time; go by a different mode of transport, especially walking or cycling part of your journey if its feasible; or if possible don't travel at all and work from home.
The Games are a great showcase for London and the transport authorities have spent years planning for the increased traffic. While it will be busy, with a bit of planning we can focus on enjoying the sport, not worrying about transport.