BBC BLOGS - John Beattie
« Previous | Main | Next »

London signs the way to 2014 success

Post categories:

John Beattie | 10:50 UK time, Thursday, 2 August 2012

David Grevenberg, the chief executive of Glasgow 2014, was on Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland this morning, where he talked about learning lessons from London 2012.

He mentioned filling the stadia from day one which would be superb.

But it's at least partly about a charm offensive.

The lessons for Glasgow in 2014 are plain to see every day I make my way to the Olympic park.

This morning it was Asif's turn.

London Olympic signage

Asif was standing on my platform, just one of three Docklands Light Railway staff on each of the platforms at our station.

He wears a very high visibility vest and he smiles when you talk to him.

I was rushing. "Is this the train for Poplar?" I belted out in my sweaty, sun drenched rush.

He was calmness in my raging ocean; "No, sir," he said. "Just wait here for the next train which is along in two minutes."

Asif told me he works seven hours each day standing on the platform.

His job is to make sure that the visitors from around the world, many of them completely perplexed by interlocking arteries of thronging human mass, get to where they want to go.

All of the transport staff, whether from the DLR, the overground or the subway, are, you can tell, on a selling mission.

They are selling London, England, and the UK.

There is, frankly, over capacity.

There are so many trains that they never seem full. There are so many helpers that you never feel you need to look for one.

When we leave work at night the buses are double deckers and they leave on time.

The drivers smile at us.

And then there are the volunteers, many of them from Scotland.

How would you describe the volunteers? Well, have you ever been in that very up-market hotel in Perthshire?

If you walk down the corridor, but don't meet a member of staff's gaze, he or she walks by without interrupting you.

If your eyes do make contact you get a 'Good morning, Sir' and a warm smile.

If you ask for help it's 'Of course, Sir...' and there's an earnest smile plus all the help you could ever want.

That's what the volunteers do here in London.

They're also on loudspeakers: "Welcome to London, wherever you are in the world we hope you have a fantastic time in our city....please keep to the left. Come on Team GB!"

And then there are the signs.

I have never, ever in my life seen such clear signage. "OLYMPIC PARK THIS WAY," they scream in bright, bright pink.

If I were to look down at my feet at any underground station or anywhere near a park, and then lift up my eyes, I would be able to see a sign telling me where I need to go.

I could find at least ten volunteers, there would be three buses, a train ready and someone from the public transport system ready to help me.

And I know it's a selfish thought but the Olympic lane is absolutely key.

It might be hard for the local population for two or three weeks of the entire year, but for the camera crews sent here from overseas it all helps to paint that rosy picture.

Everyone I speak to from the countries of the world says that London has put on an incredibly friendly face.

Oh, and I want to mention the armed forces. Again, unfailingly courteous and efficient.

Young men and women who should really be on holiday smile, search us, protect us, and offer solutions.

Last night one came to my aid in a small way. It was to do with liquid I shouldn't have been taking through an X ray machine.

He calmly offered to put it aside for me to collect later on leaving the park.

Seriously, I'd pay the army to provide security for Glasgow.

The best thing Scotland can do for itself in 2014 is to project an image of positivity and friendliness, which will have to be led by public service workers, volunteers, security, small business owners, and the sheer volume of buses, trains, subway cars and people to make travel in and around the city and from venue to venue flawless and a pleasure.

London 2012 is working with an efficient smile.


  • Comment number 1.

    Another +ve blog JB, thank you...

    one small thing.... can you get the title of the blog changed? ont eh home page it still reads " Scotland should lower their sights" which I think refers to our RWC aims. Pretty sure you would get more readers if the home page was correct....

  • Comment number 2.

    It's linked incorrectly on the Rugby Union page too:

    "Scotland should lower their ambitions" > links to this article about something entirely different.

    Must just be an error in the HTML that your technical team can easily fix so that the latest blog post title is displayed.


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.