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2012 Summer Olympics: Olympic travel commotion calmer than previously projected

View Public transportation to avoid during the London Summer 2012 Olympics in a larger map

Months of planning have paid off for London as the city expected hours of travel delay with the surplus of visitors for the Olympics, and residents are seeing very little delay.

According to the Transport for London website, an estimated 12 million people use the London public transportation each day, with an additional one million during the Games.

“It is estimated that 80 percent of spectators attending the Greater London venues will travel by rail, including the Tube,” a TFL spokesperson said. “On a network of this size and scale, issues will arise, but we are confident that we will get everyone to and from their Games events and keep London moving.”

In fact, many companies have told their employees not to even bother coming into the city to work during the week, urging them to work from home instead until the Games are over, said Susannah Kyte, a tour guide of Proscenium Tours.

“If it (is) possible for people to work from home, then they have been encouraged to do so,” she said. “And it seems to be working, because there is no one in London now.”

Kyte added that people are making such an effort to avoid all traffic in London that numbers are actually below what the city projected for public transportation usage.

Some people have opted for more extreme measures to avoid the mayhem from the Olympics.

“I used to work in Central London until December last year, and one of the reasons I left my job (is that) I just didn’t want to commute into London during the Olympics,” said Susannah Salling of Dorking. “So I just changed jobs and moved right down the road.”

Salling, whose husband works from home, said that the travel around her house hasn’t been bad but that it was backed up for a few days when the city was making repairs to the road for the men’s cycling road race.

“There have been so many temporary traffic lights, which has sort of slowed down the traffic, and you get sort of stuck in traffic on your way to work and from work and that,” she said. The road were completely shut down on July 26 because of a course test run.

“It hasn’t been too bad because the cyclists go on weekends,” Salling said. “But with millions of extra people in London, I couldn’t bear the thought of travelling into the city – so I really can’t complain.”

But other Londoners have not seen any difference in their commutes, such as Richard Martinez, who is a manager at YO! Sushi near Waterloo Station. He said his general commute to work has been extended by an extra 20 to 30 minutes.

“It’s not necessarily because it’s busier, but it’s because of the way that they changed the exits and entrances – it adds another 10 or 15 minutes of walking time,” he said.

The city of London created a website to help those living in the area “Get Ahead of the Game” by offering interactive maps with suggested times of travel and alternate routes to take.

Travelers can expect trains to run later than usual for the Games, up to 1 a.m., according to the website. In addition, the website also offers advice to business owners about deliveries, customers and getting their employees into the city.

“We were all advised from our head office which days were going to be the busiest days and which events were going to take place near our places of work,” Martinez said. “We were given advice to go to the government website for transport so we can plan our journeys to work and make sure that we are going to work on time.”

This article was provided through Scripps London 2012, a program allowing students in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism to cover 2012 Summer Olympics events in London. Four Post staff members are participating in the program.

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