11 November 2008

London ready for Olympics? Not by a long shot.

The first 2 days of WTM - the premier UK based travel show have shown that London is definitely not ready for prime time.

Absolute chaos usually reigns at WTM since it moved to the Excel Center in Docklands. Each year there was a different excuse. DLR wasn't ready, DLR upgrading, building the DLR extension to LCY etc etc.

So London you have about 1300 days to get this sorted out. I really don't believe that London will get this ready for quite some time. Just keeping the London Underground running is a major undertaking. Getting it to work and be able to accommodate the hoards that will come for the Olympics is for me an impossible task.

So I throw down the gauntlet. Boris and Co - get with the program - you have this time to fix it. You had just better focus on it because right now your plans are inadequate and based on too many flimsy assumptions that will never hold up.

Still we all hope - me included



Rory said...

Specifically, which plans do you consider to be "inadequate"?

The million+ extra daily seats on the exisiting tube network?

The 50%+ increase in DLR capacity?

The (new) 12-car bullet trains running every 7 minutes?

In all, a tube/dlr/overground or bullet service leaving the Olympic park every 20 seconds - you consider this inadequate?

As for "flimsy assumptions", what increase in daily ridership do you expect to see during the Olympics? Assuming that, conservatively, the tube system alone (not DLR or overground) will be carrying 3.5million passengers per day by 2012 - the numbers visiting the Olympic park have to be pretty huge to generate a significant %age increase. Granted, the focus will be on a few stations, but there are several lines to take the strain. It's not a huge challenge compared to moving 120K football fans to Arsenal and Tottenham, simultaneously, on one line.

Professor Sabena said...

Rory, You somewhat miss my point.

This is all wonderful and "planned". But my point is that London Underground has promised and promised and failed and failed so many times that their credibility is shot. At almost every turn I have seen first hand as an ex-Londoner how poor the service has become. I have also experienced first hand how other Olympic Cities have dealt with the problem of traffic (Athens, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Sydney).

Frankly London's excuse for an acceptable form of transportation infrastructure needs a radical overhaul from the top down starting RIGHT now. These plans may have looked good on Ken and Seb's wall charts but the reality is that London is likely to get a severe black eye unless a major and radical reform is undertaken on the whole organization. Quality metrics must be built using real models. Not theory.

I stand by my original post. But sincerely hope I am proved wrong.


Rory said...

Again, I'd ask for specifics. What major project has LUL's current management (LUL - NOT the politicians you cite) failed to deliver on since the Jubilee line extension? T5 extension? Nope, that was on time. St. Pancras/King's Cross Phase 1 (one of the world's largest single-site engineering projects)? On time to. Wembley Park Station? That was on time and now copes with 90k football fans at a time. Multiple DLR extension? On time. Jubilee Line Phase 1 capacity upgrade... guess what...

There is no denying that the LUL system struggles to cope with the numbers using it, but show me another western metro system investing as much in upgrades?

Again, I'd say that this is not the massive percentage increase in passenger traffic that far smaller systems (Athens, Sydney, Atlanta) had to cope with.

What, specifically, are you a Professor of?

Actually don't bother responding. This is why blogging is dying - too much focus on rhetoric rather than fact. Yet another use for the unsubscribe button.