Are the Games Lanes working or are motorists confused?

The Highway near Tower Hill facing west Motorists appeared to stay away from driving into central London on Wednesday morning

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The last time there was such a dramatic change to London's roads was when the congestion charge was introduced in February 2003.

Then, our TV producers at BBC London used tumble weed from the BBC prop department to show how deserted the roads were.

Perhaps we're not quite digging that out again but anecdotally it seems traffic is lower than usual and many drivers are staying away.

Transport for London (TfL) will be pleased if it's true that their messages and advice have got through to motorists.

What that has meant is that while the Olympic Route Network (ORN) is active it is open to everyone but you can't stop on it or turn right and some of the Games Lanes, for use by the Olympic family, are on and some are off.

What TfL is trying to do is show that the lanes are flexible and can be turned on and off.

It is an important point for it to make politically as the lanes are very unpopular and controversial.

What are the Games Lanes?

  • Dedicated lanes on a third of the Olympic Route Network in London
  • For use only by Games family - those deemed to be critical to the success of the Games - and emergency vehicles
  • One lane in either or both directions on key roads linking Olympic venues
  • Mostly in offside lane of road, although which lane used will depend on layout
  • Used by 55,000 members of Olympic family each day
  • Mostly used by fleet of 1,500 coaches and nearly 4,000 BMWs for officials and VIPs
  • Lanes to be marked by road markings and traffic signs

TfL wants to show it has listened and it can keep London moving.

The downside is that it is confusing for some drivers - is this lane on or off? Do I risk a £130 fine?

And it seems lots of drivers remain unsure particularly if they missed the dot matrix signs issuing advice.

Leon Daniels, TfL's managing director of surface transport, said people would have to rely on the changing matrix signs to determine whether they could drive on the lane.

But he said people accidentally straying into them would not automatically incur a fine.

He said: "We don't want enforcement, we want compliance.

"Nobody will be harshly dealt with if the Games Lane becomes activated after they pass it."

How has it been for you so far? Let me know.

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

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  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    I momentarily strayed into a Games Lane today because I couldn't see the road markings and signs because of heavy traffic. I think they should have prepared this at least 2 months ago, to allow motorists time to assimilate the instructions. Ian Fletcher had something to do with this I''m sure.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    I've just seen the item on the news about the olympic lanes / olympic route network. It sounds very confusing with different rules applying to different lanes. It sounds like a bit of a money making scam to me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    With the economy back in recession you'd think the government would be doing everything they can to help the economy. Bringing millions of Londoners to a grinding halt to benefit a few Olympic hangers on who want to stay in Park Lane rather than Stratford isn't going to help growth much is it?

    I drive around London for work, I don't have a choice, I don't do it for fun - patronising rubbish TfL

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Tower Bridge was incredibly slow yesterday, and even slower today. I expect it to be glacial tomorrow and possibly to be in grid lock thereafter. Thankfully I have scheduled to bring my yacht through to the Pool of London during the middle of the Marathon, so at least I'll have a good view of one event.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    I have a suggestion for a new game in Olympics\Paralympics month;

    All motorists in London to carry a box of eggs in their car and when in gridlocked traffic you can throw them at the vehicles in the Olympics lane.

    +100 points if you hit an IOC delegates car
    -50 points if you hit an Athletes car.



Comments 5 of 19



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