London's transport challenges don't ease up in 2013

 
Stratford Railway station on 31 July 2012 In the main transport during the Games went well but there were some issue

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For London's transport operators, 2012 was clearly their finest year.

A relatively smooth Olympics ensured the story was about the sport and not the transport but, at the risk of sounding like Scrooge, the rose-tinted spectacles can hide some of the issues that did arise.

The run up to the Games did not go well.

The M4 Boston Manor viaduct, the main motorway link from London to Heathrow Airport, had to be closed to all traffic after a crack was found in a "sensitive area" of the road structure in early July.

During the Games, a cyclist died close to the Olympic stadium and on the roads there were long queues on the A12 / A13 and at Hangar Lane gyratory as the traffic light timings were changed.

Drivers were confused by the Olympic lane sign and London's black cabbies accused Transport for London (TfL) of scaring their business away and creating a ghost town.

The Tube did have a handful of breakdowns.

There's no doubt many Londoners listened to advice and stayed away from town and changed their travel habits.

Was the message overstated by TfL?

Privately, I'm sure the bosses won't care and even they were surprised at how smoothly it went.

TfL said the Tube was busier than it had ever been but it seemed to be staggered across the day.

The big difference was the type of crowd and the goodwill created by the Olympic volunteers. It meant when the queues started at St Pancras International they were kept moving.

The new year means 2013 will bring transport bosses back to business with a bang.

The honeymoon glow after the Games is now a distant memory and money is very tight.

Commuters are facing above inflation fare rises - again - and big infrastructure projects like Crossrail and the Tube upgrades seem assured but other schemes being developed like Crossrail 2 will have to prove their worth.

London has had it pretty good in terms of capital spending and disquiet in the North is getting louder.

The vocal cycling lobby still awaits the Mayor's plans to turn London into a genuinely cycle friendly city and the mayor (as ever) wants more control over the train franchises (the Department for Transport seems to have had a change of heart and likes the idea in principle).

There is also concern over High Speed 2, capacity at Euston station and the battle over the future of our skies and the third runway at Heathrow rumbles on.

In the background the government could be looking at further cuts to London's transport budget.

Have I left anything out?

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

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