Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Olympic Questions

This morning saw the latest appearance of Olympic officials before the Assembly. With less than a year to go members were keen to ensure that concerns around transport and ticketing were allayed.


First in front of the meeting were Seb Coe and Paul Deighton of LOCOG, the games organisers.

With plans for another sale of tickets in April 2012, they stated that lessons had been learned from the first tranche of sales, where some people had obtained all the tickets they applied for but around one million were left unsatisfied.

The April ticket sale would avoid the use of a ballot and would be an on line first come first served exercise. Priority would be given to the million unsuccessful applicants from the first tranche and the number of tickets per person would be tightly limited to ensure wider availability. All the events and venues would be available, but precise numbers were not yet known because plans for seating at some events were not finalised. In particular, the opening ceremony was dependent on lighting, TV sight lines and space for the show so the number of tickets on sale was not finalised. I hoped that the majority of seats would be filled by member of the public rather than sponsors, VIPs and Olympic officials.


Yesterday was not good at Liverpool Street. Overnight storms brought down the power lines, leaving only three platforms in operation, and the severe disruption lasted all day. The problems were compounded by a lack of information for commuters about alternative routes - a situation that would be much worse should an incident occur during the games with crowds of non English speaking visitors milling about in confusion.

Witnesses from TfL and the ODA assured me that the new control centre at their Pallestra HQ would make managing such situations much easier. I have toured the centre with colleagues and it is certainly most impressive - but I didn't see much evidence of cooperation with Network Rail and the operators. Let's hope we won't face the ultimate test.

TfL were castigated for their plans to close 51 pedestrian crossings to smooth the flow of traffic in Games Lanes. There was also concern about Greenwich Council's plans to fine drivers £500 for parking illegally on their streets during 'Games Time'. The line between deterrent and cash cow is a fine one in this case.


Redbridge resident said...

I shall have no problem with local traffic during the games. A motoring holiday in mainland Europe from 20 July to 22 August beckons.

Anonymous said...

It is good news extra tickets will be available.

However, perhaps for those that will still not get tickets to teh opening ceremony. Perhaps, a few alternative entertainment events could be organised after the olympics, so that some of us can get to see the Olympic stadium.

It would be a shame if the the Olympic Stadium is demolished or turned into a turnip farm or whatever its fate.... :-)

Anonymous said...

Parking Charges: These needs to be taken out of the hands of local councils. They simply cannot be trusted.

An independent body should be set-up to decide where parking restrictions are needed and enforce them on a no-profit basis. (although, I would not mind if such profits where put into building traffic free cycle lanes and secure cycle parking).

Just look at Newham Council, they are charge £2 per hour to park in car parks, which is killing local shops and markets. Plus the new Westfield Stratford is offering 2 hours free parking (or 7 hours free parking until 31 Oct, if you sign up on the web). The Mayor of Newham has the cheek to complain that there are too many fried chicken shops, after high streets have closed down.

It costs 89p per hour to rent a flat in Newham, compared to £2 an hour to park your car in Newham!