Let’s face it. You all knew this post was coming. The inevitable travel-based rant about the London 2012 Olympics is officially posted today. I’m writing it now as as many of you know the dreaded Olympic lanes have come into force this morning and I have a gig in Soho tonight so you may never hear from me again.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Olympic lanes, allow me to explain. TFL in their infinite ignorance have allowed over 30 miles of our already congested roads to have little rings painted all over them which mean that only official Olympic vehicles can travel in them when they are in force. The main issue is nobody really knows when they are indeed in force. I’ve already witnessed some appalling driving over the last few days as people veer back and forth between lanes not sure whether they’re about to incur a whopping £130 fine or not. I have heard various stories from the Powers That Be as to when the lanes will be in force. Apparently they will only be active when Olympic vehicles are actually using them, but I will believe this when I see it. Frankly, it looks to me as if the majority of London motorists are too terrified to chance it.
And we are supposed to watch out for the little electronic signs to see whether the lanes are in force. Most of the signs I have seen merely direct drivers to look up the Get Ahead of The Games website or Twitter feed (!) for up to date information. I think once you are actually on the road it is rather irresponsible to direct drivers to get their phones out to see whether they are breaking the law or not.
I am already seeing news reports of travel chaos on our streets. The traffic light phasing has been drastically altered over the last few weeks to give priority to main routes (chiefly those with Olympic lanes) which has caused vast tailbacks throughout the capitol. And the road layout has also been meddled with to the point where nobody (including our black cab drivers) knows how the get about in a sensible fashion. I have also been informed that certain roads (including the Kingsway) have gone from having one normal lanes and a bus lane to simply a bus lane and an Olympic lane. So it is more than likely that you could find yourself unwittingly choosing between fines. I would suggest the bus lane in this instance as the fine is less…
It is insane for TFL to allow this to happen. I was not at all in favour of the games coming to London in the first place. The city is already too crowded and the transport network is unable to cope with passengers at the best of times. I know it’s only for a few weeks, but telling Londoners (the majority of whom couldn’t have got tickets for the games even if they wanted to) to avoid traveling in central London (by road OR public transport) during the games is simply not on. Nobody wants to drive through central London. I will have to make to journey a few times during the games to work with my bass and am not massively looking forward to the chaos. The majority of motorists in town during the day are there because they have to be for work. Londoners have paid on average £1200 each in additional taxes to pay for the games and now they will be contributing an extra £130 every time they mistakingly veer into the wrong lane. Not on I’m afraid.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Carmageddon!!!
See you on Twitter folks. Expect heavy use of my #traffictorture #sodtheolympics hashtags and the introduction of #carmageddon into the regular rantings.
That’s it. Rant over. See you at a gig soon. I’ll be the one who’s late…