Union fears the ‘Bad Tempered Games’

27 April 2012

Train drivers’ union ASLEF believes Londoners have no idea how much disruption the Olympics will cause to their commutes – and is worried about angry passenger reaction when they are faced with travel chaos during the Olympics and Paralympics. ‘ We urge everyone to prepare themselves for massive delays,’ says union general secretary Mick Whelan. ‘Because it is going to happen.’

Mick points out that the capital’s rail and underground network already struggles to cope with the 12 million passengers who rely on it every single day. ‘There is no spare capacity now,’ he says. ‘Trains are already overcrowded. With the influx of millions of visitors – estimated at another three million a day - we will be at breaking point.’

The union doesn’t think the public has realised the strains that London’s transport system will be under from the capital’s first event on 27 July until the end of the Paralympics on 9 September.

‘I worry that there will be explosions of anger when the full scale of the problems are realised,’ Mick says. ‘I call on the Olympic authorities to make far more effort than they have so far to explain to the travelling public how massive the disruption is likely to be.’

Mick points out that ASLEF members are doing all they can to be flexible and to add extra services over the Olympics but says, ‘We all know that this will not be enough.

‘There is a perception that if you are not on the main Olympic routes, all will be well. This is not the case. There will be massive delays at other stations and interchanges as people seek to avoid the obvious areas.’ He believes stations like London Bridge, Bank, Farringdon and Kings Cross could be massively congested.

‘The Organising Committee can’t hold its breath and cross it fingers and hope this will not happen. It will happen,’ Mick says. ‘We need a massive awareness campaign to prevent London 2012 being remembered as the Bad Tempered Games.’

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