November 23 - London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe confidently claimed today that London is ready to cope with the huge volume of transport expected during the Olympic and Paralympics Games next year, though he admitted that there will be major challenges ahead.
Transport issues have been one of the key concerns ahead of next year's Games, with the capital's train network, in particular London Underground, at risk of failing to provide sufficient capacity for spectators travelling between Olympic venues.
It has been suggested that Transport for London (TfL) requires up to a 30 per cent drop in commuters in order to reduce waiting times, whilst there has also been considerable effort to encourage employers to allow and encourage flexible working, possibly from home, during the Games.
Speaking here at Tower Bridge as EDF unveiled its 36 strong team of Olympic and Paralympic Games athlete ambassadors, Coe said London 2012 had two objectives, both inside and outside the venues where the action will be taking place.
"Number one is precision, athletes need to know if I say to them that it is 38 minutes from the village to their venue – because [if they think it is] 45 minutes it means you are eating at the wrong time, you are warming up at the wrong time," he said.
"The second is making sure the city works for people who are not in the Games."
Coe insisted though that the capital was well placed to deal with the extra pressures on its transport network.
"London does this all the time, we had the Tour de France and Wimbledon at the same time this year," he said.
"Of course there will be challenges; London is not designed like a modern European city.
He also added: "I'm not here though to resolve the broader London transport issues which have challenged politicians for 60 years."
By David Gold