OLYMPIC UPDATE .......................
Olympics + Taxis
WE ARE NOW WELL INTO 2012 and just in case you have been living on a Space Station for a few years, this is an Olympic year and in late July and August of this year the Olympic extravaganza comes to London. Here are a few stats that may help set the scene for what is about to arrive in London this summer… ● The five host boroughs for the Olympics and Paralympics are Newham, Hackney, Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets and Greenwich. ● An estimated global audience of 4bn people are expected to watch the opening ceremony on July 27, 2012. ● The London Olympics will generate £10bn in revenue for the British economy as a whole. ● Revenue from tourists attracted by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are forecast to add up to an additional £2.1bn. East London will see a massive upgrade in facilities. As many as 5,000 new homes could be available there after the Olympics. ● There are proposals for a 45% increase in capacity on the London Underground’s Jubilee line, along with plans to create a transport hub in Stratford only, which is 7 minutes by train from Kings Cross station and is expected to carry up to 320,000 people per hour. ● Over 200 buildings had to be demolished at the 2.5sqkm Olympic Park, the majority of the site, including the main five Venues. ● This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Paralympics. The wheelchair games, involving injured World War II soldiers, were staged on the opening day of the London 1948 Olympics. ● Nobody knows the exact number of visitors that will arrive for the Olympics but there are some ‘best estimates’ based on previous Games. An independent report by Oxford Economics estimates the number of visitors to London for the 2012 Games will be approximately 450,000 staying visitors, taking into account displacement. In addition, it is estimated that 5.5. million day visitors will also come to the capital over the Games period. The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will not only be held in the Olympic Park in Stratford East London; parks, major sports venues, entertainment arenas and exhibition spaces across London will also be used for events so you should expect to encounter the Games everywhere. ● Taxis will be required for the Games where individuals require a level of flexibility not offered by public transport modes. In particular, taxis provide an accessible travel alternative for disabled people of all impairments.
London has a pool of 25,000 licensed taxi drivers, and 22,000 licensed taxis, all of which are wheelchair accessible. Some 161 million trips are made by either taxi or private hire vehicles in London per year. August is traditionally a relatively quiet month for the London taxi trade, but the Games will create an increased demand for taxis. It is expected that there will be a great demand for taxis to make various types of trips. These could include airport transfers, sightseeing tours, and journeys between accommodation and venues. The ODA – Olympic Delivery Authority continues to work closely with its delivery partners and stakeholders to develop the role of taxis throughout the Games. Since the first edition of the Transport Plan, London 2012 has established a taxi and private hire vehicle working group. This group facilitates clear communication between operators, TfL, local authorities and the ODA. The ODA ensures that the latest good practice guidance on the integration of taxi ranks into interchanges is used when designing venue infrastructure. While TfL will lead on taxi facilities at rail interchanges within London, the ODA will liaise with TfL to ensure that the requirements for the Games are taken into account. It is envisaged that taxis will be able to drop off and pick up passengers at specific zones at all London 2012 venues. There will also be facilities at public transport interchanges. The taxi rank at Stratford Regional Station has been completed. The ODA will investigate the potential for taxi share schemes already used at some venues such as the Wimbledon Tennis Championships to be used at London 2012 venues. The precise details have yet to be developed, but the ODA will work with the industry to maximise the opportunities available. The ODA will ensure that adequate Games related information is provided to drivers. This will relate to venue access, location of ranks and other pick-up/drop-off points, event scheduling and other relevant information. Under current traffic regulations, taxis are permitted to use bus lanes. It is proposed that taxis will not be permitted to enter or use Games Lanes. Games Lanes are for accredited vehicles and emergency vehicles responding to an emergency. Here at Radio Taxis we have been working towards the Olympics all through 2011. We have been attending meetings and trying to influence (albeit we never had as much influence as we would have liked) the ORN – Olympic Route Network. These are the Olympic lanes that will criss-cross London during the Games and be used exclusively by the Olympic family. These Olympic lanes will cause traffic problems not only because they are used exclusively by Olympic family vehicles but also because none of these lanes can be crossed by other traffic. They will predominantly be taking up the off-side (middle) lane of the roads where they are marked out. Because they are the middle lane they will, in effect, become trunk roads and no right turns will be allowed that will cross these Olympic lanes. This description will make a bit more sense when you see the lane painters out and about over the coming months. So there you have it, the recipe for the traffic conditions during the Olympics: ● Restricted road space ● Many additional road closures and turning restrictions ● Upwards of half a million extra day visitors using all forms of public transport ● Satellite Navigation systems that will prove to be highly inaccurate with Olympic road closures in place ● An army of “traffic wardens” ensuring that stopping restrictions are adhered to On a more positive note: ● Summer time usually means a 15% reduction in road traffic in London in August ● With all the Olympics publicity this figure could stretch to 30% less traffic on London’s roads ● Many people will be working from home during the Olympics which will help reduce the strain on public transport ● More people will be staggering their hours (working flexi-time) to avoid Olympic congestion ● Radio Taxis will be keeping you up to date with Olympic news and effects on traffic conditions
Are you ready?