Kate Hinds is an Associate Producer for WNYC News. She also reports for WNYC and Transportation Nation, a public radio reporting project that combines the work of multiple newsrooms to provide coverage of how we build, rebuild and get around the nation.
London Olympics: Pink Means Go (SLIDESHOW)
Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - 09:29 AM
London's transportation network has survived the first workday of the Olympic Games -- and, according to one transit user, is well organized. And colorful.
WNYC's Kathleen Ehrlich is in London this week, so we've tasked her to be TN's official Olympic transport correspondent. (Vacation time be damned!) She shared with us her impressions of the first weekday of the Games. "The system is crowded, but holding up," she says.
View a slideshow of photos from the London Olympics (all photos by Steven Z. Ehrlich)
Kathleen says the flow of foot traffic on the rail system is being carefully controlled. "Many routes were adjusted so that at certain busy stations you can only get on or get off at certain parts of the day," she says, "or you can only enter or exit through certain entrances." And there's a lot of help for transit riders. "Tube stations/train stations are staffed with large numbers of volunteers as well as extra workers," she says. "The people helping out have been cheerful and knowledgeable. The system is spotlessly clean. Workers are giving people free rides on the tube if people are having issues with their Oysters and getting them on their way is taking priority over making sure everyone is paying."
If there are issues, it's easy to ID help. The four official colors of the 2012 Olympics are pink, blue, green and orange -- colors that, according to the official website, "were carefully chosen to communicate the spirit of the London 2012 Games: energetic, spirited, bright and youthful."
Not to mention unmissable.
"It stands out," says Kathleen. "Nothing else is fuchsia. So as soon as you see it, you know it's about the Olympics and likely about travel."
So far, the transit system seems to be keeping people off the roads. Boris Johnson, London's mayor, told ITV that "we've been able to turn off a lot of the Games lanes because so many people are going by public transport."