Thomas helps Transport for London urge commuters to consider different travel plans during Games
Friday, 06 July 2012
July 6 - Former Olympian Iwan Thomas is lending a hand to Transport for London (TfL) to help commuters plan alternative routes during London 2012.
Thomas (pictured top and below), the British 400 metres record holder and 1996 Olympic 4x400m relay silver medallist, was here during the rush hour to take a series of warm-up exercises with the public in a bid to encourage them to walk, run or cycle part or all of their journey to work.
London Bridge will be one of the busiest underground stations during the Olympic and Paralympics with its Jubilee Line connection not far from Stratford and the Olympic Park.
Talking to insidethegames afterwards, Thomas said: "We are trying to raise awareness for people to change their travel routine during the Games.
"It is going to be so busy with commuters coming in for the Games.
"This initiative encourages fitness and at the same time perhaps [will] get people to get off the bus one stop earlier, cycle, walk or run to work and ease the commuter rush hour.
"We are doing exercises with commuters showing that exercise is fun and perhaps make that journey to work more fun."
Thomas added that he was unsure if the public was aware just how busy London would be this summer.
"Unless you have been to an Olympics before you cannot comprehend how many people will come to the capital," he pointed out.
"If you can change your routine maybe that is a good thing to do."
Several million Londoners are to be emailed local travel advice for the areas they work and live in.
A million Get Ahead of the Games wallets for the British capital's oyster cards, which are used by most commuters to travel around London, will also be handed out at Zone 1 stations this week.
Although he is based in Southampton, Thomas is no stranger to the busy commute Londoners face on a day to day basis; but he feels that the sometimes fraught atmosphere on the usually hectic underground network could change for the better while the Olympic and Paralympics are on.
"I am looking forward to the Olympics – the atmosphere on the trains may be different and London will without a doubt be the place to be this summer," he said.
"Most people at 7.30am or 8am are in a rush to go to work and it can be an unfriendly place, but I think it will be different during the Games.
"Hopefully the Games will be a good place for people to interact a bit more.
"You might be on the way to see Jess Ennis or Sir Chris Hoy, and you will have something in common [to talk about] with other commuters."
The normally congested underground network receives 12 million passengers on a normal day, with up to three million more expected on the busiest days of London 2012.
Earlier this year TfL launched the www.getaheadofthegames.com website, which helps commuters plan their routes during the Olympic and Paralympics by detailing when and where the tube network will be at its busiest.
TfL is keen that commuters who use London Bridge (pictured above), for example, may consider walking a further five minutes to Monument station, where congestion is unlikely to be as severe.
Ben Plowden, director of planning for surface transport for TfL, said: "With less than a month to go before the Games we want everyone who will be travelling in London during games-time to check out www.getaheadofthegames.com to see how their journey may be affected.
"The website has maps, alternative travel options and hotspot information to help Londoners change their travel [plans].
"I would also encourage Londoners considering cycling to check the TfL cycle journey planner for the most up to date route information."
June 2012: Warning for motorists as London 2012 Olympic Route Network plans revealed
March 2012: London 2012 Games Lanes to be open to public at certain periods, reveals TfL
January 2012: London 2012 urge transport users to check travel plans well in advance of the Games
December 2011: Security and transport are two pieces of the jigsaw that are coming together, says Coe
November 2011: Stations require 60 per cent cut in traffic to cope with London 2012, admits TfL boss