Overcrowding report is ‘ominous for Olympics’

05 July 2012

Train drivers’ union ASLEF warned today that overcrowding on trains within and into London is getting to the state where there must now be serious question marks over the ability of the infrastructure to cope with the August Olympic Games.

‘I want passengers in London to enjoy relaxed and seamless journeys during the Olympics,’ says union general secretary Mick Whelan. ‘But you would need a joint degree in Optimism and Ignorance to feel confident that will happen.’

Department for Transport (DfT) statistics show that even without the influx of several million sports enthusiasts, trains in the capital and the south-east are seriously overcrowded. ‘The havoc at the end of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations was a final warning,’ Mick says. ‘We have to be prepared for some very difficult weeks. My two-point plan for commuters is ‘Keep calm – and don’t blame the staff.’

The DfT figures reveal

  • Normal passenger capacity on peak-time trains is exceeded by 3.2%
  • During the morning peak, trains operate at 4% over capacity
  • Evening peak trains are 2.3% over capacity

‘I don’t think the public realises the incredible part the railways play in the capital’s life,’ Mick says. ‘Every weekday well over half a million people arrive into London by train.’

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