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London’s commuters have been warned to prepare for travel disruption as the Olympic Games enters its first working day.
Transport chiefs will be watching anxiously after a serious of train and tube delays beset some of the opening ceremony rehearsals in the Olympic stadium last week.
London Bridge station is expected to be exceptionally busy this evening as crowds leave the equestrian competition in Greenwich, and the Kent-bound train platforms will be exit-only from 6pm.
Events are being staged at 10 venues around the city today, including the Olympic Park, ExCel, Earl’s Court, Lord’s Cricket Ground, and Horse Guards Parade.
Olympic organisers estimate that the one million extra visitors to London will make three million journeys on public transport each day – in addition to the 12 million journeys normally recorded.
Road users also face restrictions, with a £130 fine for entering reserved ‘Games Lanes’, which are part of the wider 109-mile Olympic Road Network that motorists have been asked to avoid.
Four out of five Londoners feel that they will encounter some kind of commuting disruption during the Olympics and one-third think they will be late for work, according to research from Harris International and employee engagement consultants Engage.
In the run up to the Games, Transport for London has been urging businesses and staff to alter their working patterns, after it set a target of cutting the number of daily journeys on the public transport network by one third this summer.
Many organisations in the capital are allowing employees to work from home or change their hours to avoid the peak-time crush.
Advertising firm Ogilvy and Mather told PM last month that it would be operating several flexible working initiatives, including a ‘Come Dine With Me’ scheme to encourage employees to have dinner at a colleague’s house.
Organisations in Canary Wharf – which is expected to see huge numbers of spectators travelling through – have also been collaborating on flexible working ideas in order to reduce the number of staff coming into the Docklands’ offices by up to 35,000.
The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) said that home working was a “growing subject” for companies, as technological advances made it a more realistic option.
LCCI chief executive Colin Stanbridge said: “Being flexible with how and where staff work can bring enormous benefits to a business, and getting it right can add to the productivity of a firm as well as staff morale.”
More information on journey planning in London this summer can be found at the dedicated website ‘Get Ahead of the Games’.