London

2012 Olympics transport strategy hailed a success

  • 13 August 2012
  • From the section London
A police motorcyclist rides in a reserved Games Lane as taxis and commuters queue to leave central London
Only about 30% of Games Lanes were typically in operation each day, said London's transport authority

Only about 30% of Games Lanes in London were typically needed each day of the Olympics as one third of Londoners changed their travel habits, said Transport for London (TfL).

Road traffic was typically cut by about 15% allowing official Games traffic to hit journey times about 90% of the time, said TfL.

The success was down to travellers following advice, it said.

A record of more than 4.5m people used the Tube, on 7 August.

Changed habits

About 70% of Games Lanes were managed flexibly each day and opened to all traffic, said Garrett Emmerson, TfL's chief operating officer.

"We carried over 60 million passengers on the Tube, 30% more than usual and more than at any time in its 149 year history.

"The number of people using the Docklands Light Railway rose by over 100% compared to last year while London Overground carried nearly 6 million passengers - both beating all previous records," said Peter Hendy, transport commissioner.

He thanked Londoners for supporting the Games.

TfL said the majority of regular transport users changed the time or way they travelled to avoid travel hotspots, not staying at home or out of town.

Business boost

As people avoided hotspots, central London high streets were quieter than expected in the first week of the Games, said New West End Company which manages and promotes Bond, Oxford and Regent Street.

A spokesman said: "It was quieter than we forecast in the first week but it recovered with some retailers reporting very strong sales in the last week particularly with the sale of merchandise."

He said some athletes and spectators were remaining in the capital and with the return of Londoners and the festival of Eid coming up, prospects were good.

He said sales figures for the quarter would not be released until September.

Sarah Porter, chief executive of Heart of London Business Alliance representing businesses in Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, Piccadilly and St James's, said the Games bring long-term business opportunities.

She said: "With the eyes of the world on London, businesses are investing in the capital - earlier this month the landmark The Hippodrome Casino opened following a £40 million investment and earlier this year Leicester Square unveiled a major £15.3million transformation."

In an attempt to encourage visitors into the West End and boost business, Westminster City Council said it was allowing free parking on the weekends of August 18 and 19 and August 25 and 26.

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