London transport bosses urged to maintain Olympic legacy
13:57 13 November 2012
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Baroness Tanni-Grey Thompson believes more disabled people used public transport in London during the Olympics because of improvements to the service.
Speaking to the London Assembly transport committee today, the ex-wheelchair racer and Transport for London board member said she hoped that manual boarding ramps put up at 17 stations in the summer would stay on permanently.
Referring to the joint work undertaken by TfL and National Rail firms, she said: “I think loads of different organisations spoke in ways they had never done before.
“It would be a shame if it was a one-off and they (people with a disability) only thought that the transport was that good because it was Games-time.
“Use away from the Games is quite different. I would not want to raise people’s expectations post-Games and they found themselves not able to get on or off at a station.
Baroness Thompson arrived at the hearing this morning on a flight from Barcelona, and added: “That’s a massive testament to public transport.”
The committee also heard that one third of people changed their travel habits during the Olympics - helping with the smooth running of services.
Mark Evers, Transport for London’s (TfL) director of Games transport, said this included people who were travelling at a different time of day so they were able to avoid travelling at busy times.
“People were also using different modes of transport and different stations,” he said.
He cited the example of someone who prior to the Games might have looked at using St James’s Park station in central London, but got off at Victoria to walk the rest of the way.
Record numbers of passengers travelled in London during the Olympics - with 60 million journeys made on the Tube alone, up 30% on normal levels.
It is likely the bold magenta signs will appear again at big events such as New Year’s Eve, the committee heard.
Normally frustrating links between different transport companies were overcome for the Games, leading to plans that can be used to deal with major events and when the city is struck by bad weather.