Garrett Emmerson, senior officer at the department of Highways and Transport, says traffic congestion in London will only get worse as the Olympic Games loom closer. He advises to seriously reconsider driving in central London, around the ORN and Games venues. World travel author, Victoria Ugarte believes that while London roads and public transport will experience extreme levels of congestion, there are ways on how to make travel in London less stressful.
Record numbers from all over the world have poured into London Heathrow, Europe’s largest airport, this week. As athletes, coaches, officials, and members of the media touch down in London in preparation for the 2012 Olympics, the airport will handle some 236,955 passengers, breaking the previous daily record of 233,562 set in July 2011. As some 1,000 volunteers, dressed in bright pink attire, enthusiastically greet arrivals, hundreds of immigration agents are hard at work, ensuring that the lines at customs flow smoothly. With an increased police and sniffer dog presence, London Heathrow appears to be coping well with its first influx of Olympic passengers.
However, traveling on public transport will be a different story during the 2012 Olympics. Victoria Ugarte, author of A Foodie & Fashionista’s Guide To London, says: “London is a thriving metropolis that boasts the largest urban area in the European Union. To service the needs of the local population, and indeed the thousands of travelers that descend upon its shores every year, it has developed over the years a very extensive and efficient public and private transport network. However, there will be an extra four million visitors descending upon London all throughout the period of the 2012 Games. That’s an extra 50% on top of its 7.5 million strong population. Traveling on public transport in London during the Games will be far from a pleasant experience.”
“The best thing that anyone can do at this busy time is to be smart and get creative in finding ways to go against the flow of bodies.”, Victoria advises. “Work out when the peak times are in London’s public transport system and avoid them. Go sightseeing or enjoy a drink and dinner after hours instead of fighting the crowds in the Tube between 5 and 7 pm.”, she says.