Commuters urged to prepare for Paralympic Games

Games Lane in London
Image caption The Paralympic Route Network (PRN) will start to be introduced from Saturday

Commuters are being urged to make alternative travel arrangements for the second time this summer as London prepares to host the Paralympic Games.

Travel bosses have outlined plans to cope as the transport network prepares for another influx of visitors and children go back to school.

The Paralympic Games are the second largest sporting event in the world with 2.5m tickets expected to be sold.

The Games run from 29 August to 9 September.

Transport for London (TfL) has urged commuters to avoid travel hotspots during the Games, with traffic expected to be much heavier as schools return from their summer breaks.

Premier League football matches in the capital, BBC Proms in the Park and the Thames Festival are also expected to heap more pressure on the transport network during the Games.

East London, particularly around the Olympic Park in Stratford, the ExCeL centre and Greenwich Park, will be hit with the greatest demand as this is where many of the competitions will be staged.

'Unique challenges'

TfL expects up to 215,000 spectators to visit the Olympic Park on most days during the Paralympics.

London's transport commissioner Peter Hendy said: "We already know the London 2012 Paralympic Games will see the most spectators in its history, which is fantastic.

"And with the new school year beginning in the second week and larger groups expected to travel together on the public transport network, we expect these Games to hold some new and unique challenges.

"We're confident that transport will cope well during the Paralympic Games, as it did during the Olympics, provided businesses and Londoners continue to plan and change the way or time that they travel, using the tools and information available at"

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "One of the things that made the Olympic Games such a great success was the way Londoners changed the way they usually travel, arriving at work a little earlier or later to avoid the busiest times.

"I want to thank every Londoner for that, and to ask everybody to plan ahead once more, so they can get out and enjoy everything London has to offer during the Paralympics and help keep our great city moving."

Commuters have been warned they could face heavy congestion with the arrival of the Paralympic Games Torch Relay in London and the opening ceremony at the Olympic Park on 29 August.

Team GB's Olympians and Paralympians will be honoured with a parade through the streets of the capital on 10 September.

It is set to begin at Mansion House in the City of London and finish in central London.

The Games will also be screened along with live entertainment at Trafalgar Square and at Potters Field by City Hall, bringing further travel congestion.

TfL has warned the Jubilee Line from Waterloo to Stratford, the Central Line from Holborn to Stratford and the entire Docklands Light Railway (DLR) will see the largest number of passengers during the Games, particularly between the peak hours of 0730 BST to 0930 and 1600 to 1900.

Some key national rail stations, such as King's Cross, St Pancras, London Bridge, Paddington, Waterloo and Victoria are also expected to be busier than normal around these times.

Park and Ride

London Underground, the DLR and London Overground will run an hour later during the Games, with the last trains leaving central London and Paralympic venues at around 0130.

National rail services will also operate additional services during the Games.

On the roads, a Paralympic Route Network (PRN) will be in operation, but on a smaller scale than the Olympic Route Network (ORN), TfL said.

The PRN will start to be introduced overnight on 25 August before it becomes fully operational on the first day of the Paralympics.

It will include 8.7 miles of Games Lanes on roads linking the City of London - where the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the world's media will be based - with the Olympic Park and other venues, including ExCeL, the North Greenwich Arena, Greenwich Park and Royal Artillery Barracks.

There will also be a separate games lane on the M4, which comes into force on Wednesday.

Motorists have been urged to avoid driving around the PRN routes and venues, particularly around the Olympic Park in Stratford and on the A102 approach roads north and south of the Blackwall Tunnel.

The A2, A12 and A13 routes into London are also expected to be busier than usual, particularly in the morning peak.

Ticket holders who have a Blue Badge and plan to drive to Paralympic events have been reminded they must book park-and-ride or blue badge parking at venues in advance.

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