Can we change our commuting habits?


Transport Minister Norman Baker said good progress was being made to try to alleviate pressure on the Tube and buses.

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Here's the full interview I've just done with the Transport Minister Norman Baker, who is urging Londoners to re-think their routine during the Games to alleviate the pressure on the transport system.

I asked for some questions over Twitter - thank you for all of your suggestions - I asked as many as I could given the time constraints.

It does seem the Department for Transport (DfT) is unlikely to shift support from the existing Olympic transport plan and is very confident that it will work.

That goes for proposed changes to Southeastern's timetable at Greenwich during the Games and the controversial Games Lanes.

I asked Southeastern about the proposed changes for the Olympics and this was its reply:

London 2012 - Begin your journey here

London view

"With the Olympic timetable we have undertaken a consultation jointly with the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), which provides the specification for the timetable we have to run as part of the franchise agreement during the Olympics.

"That has closed and we have looked at making some changes, including re-introducing the services at Charlton and also running the Javelin train to Ashford later into the night.

"We have the timetables on our website.

"The services to the Olympic venue stations are unaffected, Greenwich, Woolwich Arsenal, Blackheath and Charlton for example. But to make sure there is enough time to get people on and off the train we have had to reduce the services at some of the stations further down the line. It is the only safe way of doing it with so many people travelling.

"There are, of course, alternatives for the train, bus, underground and DLR etc and we are working with them as well on this. We are still awaiting the approval from the DfT so all is still in the air."

I've again looked at the modelling and it does show that at some stations such as London Bridge, organisers need a 50% drop in "background" commuters.

Also, in the long term Norman Baker wants companies to get out of the rush-hour mindset and thinks 2012 could be the catalyst.

Let me know what you think.

Tom Edwards Article written by Tom Edwards Tom Edwards Transport correspondent, London

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  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    There's only one way to give half of London's workforce a six-week paid holiday, and that's to pay for it.

    Bleating to us about their lack of planning or the inadequacy of the transport system is neither here nor there. Either the games are worth real money or they're not, and now's their chance to prove it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Interesting to note that there's a Central London Zone (according to another article) which encompasses Hyde Park. Yet Boris deems it neccesary to remove the congestion charge from around Hyde Park. With this hypocritical oaf in charge, chaos is sure to ensue.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    3. kilonewton

    Ah yes, but you are forgetting that the UK is run by the most incompetent bunch of buffoons any 'outsider' could possible imagine!

    Whatever can go wrong will go wrong! its inevitalbe

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    So lets just clarify this suggestion - the Government is asking business to 'get out of the rush hour' mentality - SO you are asking me to damage MY business for the Olympics? Sacrifice my companys ability to function for the sake of some 'sporting extravagance' - You think MY customers/clients will understand WHY my employees are not answering the phones or cannot meet at 9am - I give up! insane

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Don't worry too much folks, by the time the Olympics kicks off there will not be many commuter left as our economy slides even further into the swamp!

    I do like the idea of a 'background commuter' - I have an image of shadowy figures slipping around the underground, hiding behind posts or benches not to be 'noticed' by the 'Olympian Commuters'! We could just cancel all jobs for the duration!

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    It is probably hard to justify most people's presence in a particular place during particular hours. Anyone who works at a computer screen could probably work flexi hours or even work from home, however management never likes supervising people they can't watch 9 to 5. Perhaps the Olympics give companies an opportunity to trial flexi-working and home working and find it works quite well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    ive prepared myself for the travelling to the olympics the only problem is i havent got the tickets i asked for,

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    I normally cycle to work, but with the road diversions and lane closures I will be getting the train and tube to escape the extra pollution and congestion.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    kilonewton, you've clearly never used London public transport - the system can't cope at the best of times! Our population is twice the size and we're expecting lord knows how many additional tourists and spectators on top of that. I used the public transport system in Sydney for several weeks in 2007 and it was an absolute dream by comparison.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    4.46 - "I dont know about greenwich" Thats it - if it doesnt fit in with the image we want to put out we'll just skate over it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    All the doom mongering going on. Same was said about Sydney's transport before 200 and that worked smoothly.

    The fact that it has all fallen apart since is beside the point...

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Good grief. What I actually want to say now cannot possibly be printed.

    And just what the heck is a "background commuter" anyways?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Although changing the 'rush-hour' mind set may work for some, for example working from home, there are plenty of people who cannot, i.e. on site, nurses, physical access needed etc.

    I'm expecting complete melt down during the olympics as they are expecting too much of an already overstretched network.



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