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Ijah Ashby

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Transport in London: An Olympic Headache?

Posted: 12/06/2012 00:00

Love it or loathe it, the transport system plays a pivotal part of everyday life in the capital and is available to us eight million Londoners.

The services we currently have perform like shows starring Richard Hammond - some good and some bad - altogether a lot of inconsistency. Prices of these services have risen in some cases above the rate of inflation.

As much as commuters complain about such issues, opportunities to speak up only come up once every four years - A bit like the World Cup. The Mayoral Election race was a perfect opportunity to make those voices heard, with only 2.6 million Londoners voting and transport being the hot topic. It would turn into a huge debate if it were suggested that there 5.4 million lodgers in the capital, especially with the Conservatives muting the possibility of relocating some Londoners to places like Stoke. Stoke is a lovely place, I've been there. Should we discuss why bikes have been made available for us without helmets? I'll leave you to think about that one.

The bus service doesn't warrant its price regardless of the new Super Hybrid buses or (Boris) routemasters being reintroduced at £1.35 per journey via Oyster Card or for those opting to travel without Oyster Card a hefty £2.30. Despite the various bus operators competing against each other, the customer service on buses is something unique in the sense of... there is no customer service. Comparisons can be drawn between bus drivers and grumpy, underworked, overpaid employees working in a Burger King branch in Barcelona, Spain. 'Dos Whopper comida por favor', ha-ha I said it!

Recently local residents have taken it upon themselves to contact their local MP in Hammersmith, West London. Andy Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith, got involved as locals wrote to him and complained about the 266 Bus Service that runs from Hammersmith to Brent Cross. Some residents waited up to two hours for a bus. Needless to say the matter was dealt with swiftly.

With technology so much more advanced these days and the bus service we currently have there has never been a better time to merge the two together. Enter the iPhone app - London Bus Checker. At only £1.99 at the App Store - Under the cost of two bus journeys, this little corker provides you with information about your next bus at ANY stop at ANY time, it pinpoints your precise location and shows the closest bus stops to you. As featured on BBC programme Click, this is the number one travel app - a must have for ALL commuters in the London.

With the Olympics fast approaching, Tube advertisements and endorsements have been doing the rounds to convince commuters to make alternative travel arrangements as the tube and train operators look to avoid meltdown. Yes, with travel already a challenge on the Tube, especially with the very recent events during the Diamond Jubilee weekend at Stratford station, where all passengers on a Central Line train had to walk their way through a tunnel towards safety because of a burst water pipe. The influx of Olympic tourists will surely put too much strain on the service with up to a million extra people expected during the Games between July and August.

RMT leader Bob Crow claimed that the tube would make London a "laughing stock" while the eyes of the world were on it. Meanwhile Labour has called on recently re-elected Mayor Boris Johnson to meet with rail bosses to make sure the rail networks are ready.

There may be several complaints to London Travel Watch and TFL as commuters compete for a personal best or world record of their own just to get from A to B - they will be deserving of gold medals if they make it through the Olympics.

Fingers crossed!

 

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