Ever since that chap read out that ‘the city of… London!’ was to be the 2012 Olympic hosts way back in 2005 (it really was seven years ago…), the UK has been looking forward to hosting its first games since 1948. It’s not long now ’til the biggest sports event in the world kicks off in our own back yard and plenty of us have been clamouring for tickets to various events – from rowing to ping-pong, track and field to football. But with so many pitching up to the capital over the Summer, travel’s going to be a nightmare…
What can you do?
Your best bet is simply to plan ahead. Don’t just assume that you can arrive into London as normal and just jump on the tube, train or bus to your destination. Thousands upon thousands of other people are going to be doing that. Give yourself plenty of time. If you estimate the journey door-to-door should take you two hours, give yourself four. Sounds extreme, but it’s better to wait around a bit than miss the 100m men’s final, eh?!
Handily, Transport for London have increased services and capacity on London Underground for the games, in order to deal with the higher demand. However, there are going to be peak times on certain lines and at particular stations, depending on the popularity of events. The TfL website has a handy page on its website called ‘Get Ahead of the Games’ which tells you what areas are going to be particularly troublesome. Check it out.
It’s not really advisable to drive in to see the events you’ve got tickets for, not if you can help it. The roads are going to be busier during the games, although many non-Olympic areas should still be fine. Again, TfL have a useful page, ‘Road Travel Hotspots’ that could prove invaluable to you Olympic-loving motorists types out there.
If you’re not a Londoner, just grabbing a ‘Boris Bike’ at Liverpool Street Station and cycling your way round the events is probably a little daunting. While we wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for sports fans, native Londoners worried about tube delays might like to consider this option.
Buses are a useful, if occasionally confusing, transport option in London. There’ll be increased services for many Olympic venues, so that’s good. There’s also likely to be delays and diversions though, so expect the bus route to take slightly longer than estimated.
As the main Olympic stadium is in Stratford in East London, the DLR (District Light Railway) will be the most used tube line. It’s an overground train line and generally one of the more infrequent services with the dodgiest carriages. All that should change though, with the city upgrading their DLR services prior to the Summer. Still, plan in advance.
If you plan to travel around a lot during the games, you can save money with the prepay ticket system, Oyster. Top up before you get there though, otherwise you’ll be queuing forever and a day…
Who’s going to the Olympics, then? Any travel tips from you?Author's Google+ Page