London’s workers stay home today, ease Olympic transit crunch
Ever since Friday night’s opening ceremony, Londoners have turned their Olympic frown upside down. Today’s Tube solidarity is another sign of success.
London’s office workers appear to have heeded pleas to stay at home to ease pressure on the transport network.
Trains into the capital were far quieter than normal suggesting that companies were allowing staff to work remotely.
A Transport for London spokesman said the morning rush hour on the first “working day” of the Games had gone well.
“People seem to be planning ahead. There were still some hot spots such as Canary Wharf and Bank.”
With a surge of Olympics passengers expected, Transport for London has urged commuters to alter their normal travel behaviour
Many companies have changed shift patterns in consultation with TfL. The way has been led by Whitehall, which is allowing thousands of staff to work from home, in a programme known as Operation Step Change.
The tube was quieter than normal, though passengers did include David Cameron.
A Downing Street spokesman said the Prime Minister still used the tube occasionally when it was the most efficient way of getting across London.
“I’ve just actually come on the tube myself to see what the traffic situation is like, not too bad, the Bakerloo line is going all right,” Mr Cameron told Sky News.
“There are lots of challenges, we’ve got to overcome them one by one. I think everything at the moment is looking good. But we’ll have a meeting where we’ll run through all of the issues as we do everyday.”
Stratford, the station serving the Olympic Park has also been busy. But with events starting and finishing at different times, TfL has not had to cope with a sudden rush of tens of thousands of spectators as would the case with a football match.
But the news was less encouraging on the roads with tailbacks reported on the M4 into London following an accident.
It saw the closure of a section of the M4 between junction 5 at Langley in Berkshire and junction 4b near Heathrow airport in west London, where an Olympics only Games lane starts. The road was reopened later in the morning.
Elsewhere on the M4 traffic was heavy between Slough Central and Slough West, because of spectators driving to the rowing at Eton Dorney.
Delays were also reported on the A40 in west London and A12 in east London, where sections of the road have been reserved for Olympic competitors, officials and sponsors.
Olympic Lanes on the Highway, linking central London to Stratford, appeared to be sparsely used, although traffic in the adjacent lanes was not particularly heavy.
But amid criticism of the “Zil Lanes” from ordinary motorists, Boris Johnson said several had been switched off to ease pressure.
Jacques Rogge, the head of the IOC, has sought to set an example to other members of the Olympic family, by declining to use the lanes.