What an incredible gold-plated event. I think as a country England can feel proud of itself today, as the ceremonies finish. Indeed, the effort on the part of First UK Bus (spectator transport), Stagecoach (games family) and TfL, not to forget their sub-contractors, has been truly olympic in nature. As venues shifted, as numbers swelled, as up to 800,000 people needed transport each day, transport has managed to keep itself out of the news. The passenger experience could’ve ruined the games, a games built on public transport. It could even’ve simply been mediocre. But it was neither. Considerable forward planning—years of it—paid off plus, of course, publicity well in advance. Unlike at G4S, there was no need for Tim O’Toole or Brian Souter or Peter Hendy to justify their respective organisations in front of millions on TV. We didn’t need the army. There was nothing to defend. Unless you know differently.
There was tragedy in the early moments of the games that most now seem to have forgotten, so spare a thought for the cyclist and the bus driver involved in that fatal accident. Other than that, though, it has been Happy and Glorious.
Those companies subcontracting vehicles & drivers were certainly well compensated but this has brought with it some unexpected consequences. Though branding was very smartly (part) obscured, returning vehicles to local serviceable conditions may need retouching. A complete mix of drivers from across the country has meant that those whose back-home hourly rates are less favourabe, usually from up north, may feel disgruntled. And some temporary driver accommodation was perhaps not quite as good as those for the olympians themselves. But none of this will bother the public.
- First, this has been a transport showcase where people have been using public transport who might not normally do so. Usually smart buses and usually well-trained and polite, friendly & good-humoured drivers may result in people trying their bus service when they get home.
- Secondly, in spite of a 20 per cent increase in the numbers using the London underground when compared to a typical high summer, many people heeded Hendy’s advice and simply stayed away from London. This was actually noticeable. A lot more people than normal worked from home and they found, on average, that they were 12 per cent more productive. Having discovered this, will this trend now continue and grow? Might this impact positively on the number of motor vehicles on London’s streets? (It might also result in fewer passenger journeys, of course).
- Thirdly, we’re about to see a significant cascading of new vehicles as, post games, they’re allocated to home garages. These are largely B9TLs and E400s. Some people back home have temporarily had to suffer steppers or simply older vehicles but let’s hope that these temporary disbenefits have proven worth it for the new stock injection some of us reading this might expect.