Transport Committee - Transport and the Olympics - Minutes of EvidenceHC 5

Written Evidence

 

Oral Evidence

Taken before the Transport Committee

on Wednesday 23 May 2012

Members present:

Mrs Louise Ellman (Chair)

Steve Baker

Julie Hilling

Kwasi Kwarteng

Paul Maynard

Iain Stewart

Graham Stringer

Julian Sturdy

________________

Examination of Witnesses

Witnesses: Councillor Catherine West, Leader of Islington Council, Chair of Transport and Environment Committee, London Councils, Natalie Chapman, Head of Policy for London, Freight Transport Association, James Bielby, Chief Executive, Federation of Wholesale Distributors, and Richard Massett, Executive, Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, gave evidence.

Q1 Chair: Good morning and welcome to the Transport Select Committee. Would you please give your name and the organisation you are representing to help with our records?

Richard Massett: I am Richard Massett from the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association.

Councillor West: I am Councillor Catherine West, Leader of Islington Council.

James Bielby: My name is James Bielby and I am the Chief Executive of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors.

Natalie Chapman: I am Natalie Chapman from the Freight Transport Association.

Q2 Chair: We have 65 days to go to the Olympics. What things are concerning you most, unless of course you have no concerns at all and then you must tell us that? What are your concerns at this stage?

Natalie Chapman: Talking to our members they seem to be fairly well prepared for the Olympics. They have the vast majority of the information they need now. The concerns that they seem to have are with their customers’ preparedness. Their customers’ willingness to understand that the Olympics will even impact them seems to be the biggest challenge that they are facing at the moment. I see that as the biggest challenge. There are a few little bits of information that we are waiting for-some fine details-but nothing really major at this stage. We seem to be fairly well prepared.

Q3 Chair: Do you feel that your concerns have been listened to and that everything is going to go smoothly?

Natalie Chapman: I think our concerns have been listened to. We have some fantastic solutions. Some are not perhaps exactly how we would have liked them to be, but we now have a system that will hopefully work and serve us well during the Games.

Q4 Chair: Mr Bielby, what is your view?

James Bielby: We represent wholesalers in the food and drink section, supplying to independent retailers and caterers. A bit like Natalie, the main concerns we have are around customer knowledge about the disruption and awareness of how it is going to affect them in terms of their day-to-day business. We also have concerns about the cost of supply during the disruptive period of the Olympics. Then there is an issue as to proportionality in terms of a sensible and pragmatic approach to some of the restrictions that will be in operation during that period. Those would be the three broad areas, if you like.

Q5 Chair: Are those outstanding concerns?

James Bielby: Yes, I think so. Initially we had concerns around information from TfL. Those have certainly been assuaged. We have had a fair bit of information and update from them about how things are going to work in practice. What we are now concerned about is the practical implementation of that going forward. The main issue is awareness in customer preparedness, as Natalie said, and how knowledgeable they are about some of the effects the restrictions will have on them. We are working hard to provide that information but it is quite a challenge.

Q6 Chair: Councillor West, what are your concerns now?

Councillor West: There are three concerns that the London boroughs have. The first one is to do with the local area traffic management and parking plans. These have come very late in the day and it has not really given a lot of time for public consultation on traffic orders, which we know can be quite controversial, particularly if certain roads need to be closed around specific venues. We feel that, while Transport for London have done well since they have picked up the brief, there was a long lag time between LOCOG finishing its organisation and its preparedness and then handing on to Transport for London. We feel that there has not really been a lot of time for that preparatory work.

Even though we understand that there are barriers to this, we are still hoping for and would like temporary increases in parking arrangements to be allowed. We know that that is leaving quite a long time, but, if you imagine a group of people clubbing together and paying for their car to come to one of the venues because it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, they might just decide to drive to the venue, leave their car there, go and see whatever it is they have tickets for and they would be quite happy with having to pay a £60 fine. The boroughs are concerned that the fines are not a deterrent, particularly if it gets around that you can just drive to the Games, park and then go in and see whatever you want to see and you will only have to pay £60, which between a few passengers is not very much to pay. We are a little concerned about that.

The second concern we have is the impact on public transport. We know that demand will be significant. We think it is good that Transport for London have already started to communicate that and what the hotspots are. However, we know there will be a lot of pressure on the suburban mainline rail services and key stations along some of the routes, which may not be obvious to us but because there are so many different venues these could become very overcrowded. We want to be sure that the planning is in place for some of the more obscure destinations that people might travel to in order to get to the venues.

Finally, in terms of the Olympic Route Network, we are a bit concerned that it is not going to be badged as the Olympic Route Network. We know that not all motorists in London go online to check whether a road is in the Olympic Route Network. We do not want Mrs Smith who pops out to get some headache pills being caught on the Olympic Route Network and being charged a fortune when it was actually designed to stop lots of traffic going on it so that we can get people to the Games on time. We are a little concerned that there is not going to be a sign that states "This is the Olympic Route Network" and that we all just have to know that it is the Olympic Route Network. It would be helpful if you, as a Committee, could take that up as an issue, which we can still do something about and which would help London residents.

Q7 Chair: Is that something that you are still in discussion about?

Councillor West: That is something that I hope this process might help to highlight. The average London motorist is not aware of what the Olympic Route Network looks like. We all know because we have been planning it.

Q8 Chair: But are you currently discussing this?

Councillor West: Yes.

Q9 Chair: Who are you discussing it with? Is it Transport for London?

Councillor West: This comes up regularly in our meetings with Transport for London. We would like badging of the Olympic Route Network to take place.

Q10 Chair: Mr Massett, what can you tell us about taxis? We have read various reports about taxi drivers being unhappy. Are they correct?

Richard Massett: Yes. The overall concern with taxi drivers is how well they can move around during the Olympics. They are not going to be permitted to use the Games lanes, so they will lose the road space capacity for that. Therefore they will suffer more than most from the congestion that is going to be added because they will lose their normal use of the bus lanes. Inevitably, taxi passengers journeys are going to take longer and it is going to cost them more. There are other more detailed concerns that we have and we will go through them if there is time.

Q11 Paul Maynard: I have read in some of the evidence I have seen so far that there is concern that London Councils are going to operate what they term as a "light touch" approach to the application of fixed penalty notices and other parking fines. This is causing a great deal of uncertainty, from what I can gather, among freight users in particular. Can Councillor West explain what a "light touch" approach is going to mean in the context of the Olympic Games?

Chair: Councillor West, what do you mean by a "light touch" approach?

Councillor West: We have had a lot of discussions with colleagues in the freight industry and indeed with other road users. Local authorities have certain rules and regulations that cover planning, licensing and all the deliveries around that. We have been asked if we can be more flexible in delivering a light touch regulatory approach. We feel we have to get the balance right between being effective local authorities and also accepting that this is a major international event. We hope we would be able to exercise common sense during a period in which we want people to enjoy themselves. Equally, we need the city to work on time. It is about trying to get that balance between being very efficient on regulatory powers but also, on the other side, allowing, for example, the food and drinks industry to get their deliveries on time. Running out of beer, Chair, would be about the worst thing that could happen during the Olympic Games. That is the sort of thing that we do not want to happen. We are trying to be sensible, co-operative and team players.

Q12 Paul Maynard: The concern might be that no one is going to know whether any particular rule is going to be enforced and whether, if they get a fixed penalty notice, they are going to have it revoked or not. Are you going to ensure that there is certainty over how you apply the regulations, even if you seek to apply them lightly, because uncertainty is the greatest problem of all, in my view?

Councillor West: The freight industry understands very clearly what the regulations are because they are written down. As local authorities, it is our role to be enforcers of those rules and regulations. However, we are aware that there are desperately needed deliveries that have to be made. We would not want to be overly efficient in exercising our duties, otherwise that could lead to the industry not being able to make the most of this desperately needed business opportunity. We have to get the balance right between helping business, particularly the hospitality industry, being able to carry out what it sees as essential, without completely blocking up the roads and failing to unblock traffic where we need to do that.

We are making sure that none of our officials go on holiday in this important period and that all local authorities have a list of who is needed to be at work. We are trying to make sure that we are as planned and prepared as possible because we are desperate for this to be a success.

Q13 Paul Maynard: Why is there such a variety in how different boroughs are approaching this? In some boroughs we are seeing side roads alongside the Olympic Route Network being subject to tighter regulation and other boroughs are choosing not to do that. Is there any consistency of approach? Obviously we all believe in localism these days, but once again it creates that degree of uncertainty of "Which borough am I in? What can I do here that I can’t do down the road?" Why are the rules tighter in some of the outer London boroughs than in some of the inner London boroughs, which will probably see more traffic?

Councillor West: In the preparation up to the Games we have had a freight meeting between London Councils and the industry so that we can be a team in preparing for the Olympic Games. Where there are particular hotspots that are either too strongly regulated or perhaps not regulated enough, I have offered my services to contact other council leaders so that they can basically unlock certain problems. With 32 London boroughs, there is a series of different approaches and interpretations of the regulations. We want to seek to have that more standardised for the industry. As London Councils that is what we are trying to achieve, but, because it is a large City with lots and lots of roads, we are very happy to try and unblock that on a case-by-case basis.

Q14 Julian Sturdy: Councillor West, I want to take you back to something you said in your opening remarks about the lack of signing and badging of the Olympic Route. You said you were in discussions with Transport for London over this. That surprised me a little bit because, with 65 days to go, I would have thought this was something that would probably have been ironed out. Could you elaborate a bit more on where you are with those discussions?

Councillor West: The executive role-the people who do this-is obviously Transport for London. We are in a lobbying position with Transport for London. This has been on the agenda with colleagues there for over 12 months. We feel that putting on these Olympic Games is a massive undertaking. Obviously we are on the side of residents. We have always maintained that the Olympic Route Network should be badged. I understand you are taking evidence from Transport for London shortly. Perhaps you could ask Transport for London what barrier remains to doing this.

Q15 Chair: Councillor West, we will decide what we ask. We would just like you to answer the question from your point of view.

Councillor West: Sure, but I have continued to represent the London boroughs and lobby Transport for London to have the ORN badged.

Q16 Julian Sturdy: Just to clarify this, at the moment you are probably not in discussions. They are saying they are not going to badge it; is that correct?

Councillor West: Yes, but I never give up.

Q17 Kwasi Kwarteng: Clearly this is going to be a very stressful time and very exciting. Is there any particular issue that you are very worried about? Is there anything, as it were, that keeps you up at night that you are terrified of in terms of what might go wrong?

Councillor West: Because of the complexity of this particular Olympic Games and the fact that it is being rolled out in so many different parts of London-and we know that London essentially has a mediaeval street system-it is not an easy task. We all know that it depends on Blackwall tunnel on the day to some degree. One of the issues is clearly whether our service transport will manage, apart from all the other issues about the underground and buses and so on. From the boroughs’ point of view, we are trying to eliminate anything that we can control now. That is why we are trying to lobby on issues around the Olympic Route Network. That is also why we want to put in more temporary parking disincentives so that our residents don’t have a car parked over their driveway in the middle of the night and then ring up their councillor to say, "There is a car parked over my driveway; can you move it?" It is that sort of thing. Our existing parking arrangements work in normal times, but running the Olympic Games is not a normal time. We are quite disappointed that our suggestion of having a few more temporary measures around parking, which would help the smoother running of the Games, has not been taken up.

Finally, we feel that, had the area traffic management and parking plans been released earlier by LOCOG to Transport for London, we would all be in a better place now because there would be more certainty. The point our colleague raised earlier about certainty applies here. There is still some uncertainty about how actual venues will manage that particular sporting occasion. At Wembley and Wimbledon they have sporting events all the time, but it is the more unusual locations that we are a little worried about, both around parking and managing the traffic demand.

Q18 Chair: Mr Massett, do you think that taxis have been taken into account efficiently in planning for the Games?

Richard Massett: After a while they have been. When the ORN was originally announced and the details of the Games lanes, there clearly had not been any consideration about taxis at all. We had to take this up with TfL. Since then we have gone over it on a road-by-road basis and TfL have made some pretty important changes that will assist us. There are still quite a number of outstanding issues. There are certain roads in central London where we will not be able to stop to pick people up or set down. These are places like Park Lane and Baker Street. That is a fundamental need of the taxi trade and the people that use them. It seems to be a situation that we cannot resolve.

Q19 Chair: There have been some reports that maybe some taxi drivers will decide to go on holiday to avoid the disruption. Is there any basis in that?

Richard Massett: Yes. Taxi drivers are like everybody else. They have young families and they are obliged to take their holidays during the school breaks. Also, because of the bad press for the taxi trade over the Olympics, lots of drivers have been saying, "We are going to go on holiday. We are not going to put up with all the hassle and we would rather go away." We did suggest an incentive for taxi drivers to try and make them give up their holidays and work during that time. That was rejected. There are issues with the Games lanes and everything else that has brought about a pretty negative attitude among taxi drivers. I cannot say that they are in a very positive mood about it at all at the moment.

Q20 Chair: What would put them in a positive mood?

Richard Massett: As I say, there is nothing really to assist them. The taxi ranks are being put in at the venues but they are not always being put in the right place. St Pancras Station is going to be the busiest rank for us, and yet there is no assistance to get taxis to and from it. At times taxis are going to be prohibited from using the bus lanes that lead to the station on road event days. It just does not assist. Taxi drivers feel that they are undervalued. Once they know the full details of what is happening I do not think anything is going to address that at all.

Q21 Paul Maynard: I want to clarify this point. Have you reached agreement with the ODA over where, and indeed if, you can pick up and drop off passengers at the Olympic Park itself?

Richard Massett: No, we have not. At Stratford we do not know. I have no idea where taxis are going to pick up at the moment.

Q22 Paul Maynard: Are you expecting to hear something before the Olympics?

Richard Massett: I certainly am expecting to hear something, yes. We speak to them regularly but it changes regularly. The Northern Spectator Transport Mall was built for taxis but taxis will not now be permitted to use it. Whether we are going to be able to use the Southern Spectator Transport Mall or not, at the moment I do not know.

Q23 Paul Maynard: That is pretty fundamental, surely.

Richard Massett: Exactly, yes.

Q24 Chair: I would like to ask about the delivery of goods during the Games. Are you satisfied that deliveries are going to be done at the right time? Have proper arrangements been made and are night-time deliveries organised where necessary? Ms Chapman, what is your view on that?

Natalie Chapman: There are going to be extensive restrictions during the day, particularly on the Olympic Route Network. Any delivery points directly along the Olympic Route Network will not be able to be accessed between 6.00 am and midnight unless you can access them from a side road or have some other arrangements. Night-time deliveries are going to be a key solution during the Games.

We see some huge benefits from night-time deliveries, regardless of the Games. We have been doing a lot of work with the Noise Abatement Society. We have worked on a project called the Quiet Deliveries Demonstration Scheme. Some of those principles have been used in the code of practice that TfL have now published to be used during the Games. We see this as a great opportunity for trialling night-time deliveries. We think they can be done really well and can deliver huge benefits, both to business and to local communities. You can take vehicles out of the most congested hours, thus reducing congesting and improving air quality. You can get from A to B a lot quicker, which is great for fuel consumption. That is good for our members at a time when fuel duty is a big issue. Of course there are carbon and safety benefits as well if you are taking vehicles out of congested hours when there are a lot more cyclists around.

Q25 Chair: Is all of that going to happen smoothly?

Natalie Chapman: We hope so.

Q26 Chair: What is your judgment on it from what you know?

Natalie Chapman: We have a code of practice out there now and we are really encouraging the industry to use it and to make it work during the Games. We have had statements from a number of the boroughs saying how they will view night-time deliveries during the Games. We would like to see more statements from more boroughs. We know that they still need to protect their residents during the Games, but it is going to be a temporary period. For some businesses they have no choice in certain locations but to deliver at night.

We do now have a list of borough contacts for all bar two of the boroughs. If we are looking to deliver at night, we know who to speak to in the borough. One of the key issues is knowing who to get through to. I think the steps are in place. We hope it works really well because we would like to see a continuation of night-time deliveries post the Games, where the environment is right.

Q27 Chair: Mr Bielby, do you have anything to add to that? Perhaps you could give a view on whether you think businesses are going to be disrupted by the Games.

James Bielby: Specifically on the issue of night-time deliveries, there is a cost associated. For our members typically delivering into retailers and catering establishments, they will have to be open later. They will have to employ delivery and dispatch staff. Delivery vehicles will typically be at less than 50% capacity. There is also an issue for customers. They will have to have somebody available to take the night-time delivery who would not typically be there because the delivery would normally be during the daytime.

There is a question mark around noise abatement rules. Natalie mentioned the code of practice. We would hope that the signing of that would act as due diligence during that period. Whilst we are doing everything we can to help our customers serve their customers, night-time deliveries are one solution, but there is obviously a huge investment needed and extra cost associated with delivering at night.

Q28 Chair: How significant will that extra cost be? Is this going to be a problem for businesses?

James Bielby: Employing extra staff is not cheap. We have to work with customers to ensure that they are available to receive the delivery. As I say, deliveries will not be at full capacity because some of the deliveries that should be done on the normal route will be able to go in the daytime but some of those will have to go at night. There is a cost in terms of associated deliveries that are not at full capacity. Our customers need constant deliveries because they are dealing with food and drink, often fresh and chilled products. They do not have the cash flow to be able to keep cash in stocks, so they rely on our members to be the back office boy, if you like.

Q29 Chair: Do you feel confident that that can be achieved during the Games period?

James Bielby: Are you talking about the night-time deliveries or the general dispatch?

Q30 Chair: The whole thing-the general dispatch at the right time.

James Bielby: We are working very hard to make it work.

Q31 Chair: But do you think it will work? Are there any particular concerns you have that could be addressed, even at this stage?

James Bielby: There are a number of concerns around travelling in and out of the security zone in terms of customers being able to get in. We represent both cash and carry and delivered, so there are concerns about how it is going to work in practice. We have worked reasonably closely with TfL to raise some of the concerns that we have. To answer your question, "Is it going to work?", we have no choice but to make it work.

Q32 Chair: When you raise these concerns do you feel that they are being addressed?

James Bielby: I think so, yes. TfL, as Catherine said, perhaps did not release the information as early as we would have liked, but obviously there is nothing we can do about that. Since the information has been received, they have done a good job in telling our members what they can and can’t do and how it is going to work in practice.

Q33 Chair: So you are reasonably confident that the concerns are being addressed.

James Bielby: I think so. Some of our members have issues in terms of their location. There is one member in particular who is on the edge of the Olympic Park. That is Essex Flour & Grain. They have been rerouted away from the Olympic Park in order to do their deliveries. It is their view that the route they have been given will put them out of business. That is a substantial concern for one employer in the eye of the storm.

Q34 Chair: Are there many other businesses who have that view?

James Bielby: Yes, there are other businesses who we would not necessarily distribute to but associated businesses in the same area who have the same problem because their suppliers cannot get in and they cannot get out. They can, but the route is much more circuitous than they would normally use.

Q35 Chair: That is a very major concern, isn’t it?

James Bielby: A huge concern in that particular example, yes.

Q36 Chair: If that is correct, it is very unfortunate.

James Bielby: Yes. The member in question has done a lot of work to try and raise his particular issue, but I do not think that he believes he has been heard. He has had conversations with ODA, LOCOG and TfL. It is a major concern. His view is that he will not be trading once the Olympics disappears.

Q37 Chair: That is a very serious matter.

James Bielby: It certainly is, yes.

Q38 Chair: It is important that that business does pursue that.

James Bielby: Yes, they are pursuing it. We are doing everything we can to make the case known. I know that the FTA has also raised that particular issue. I am just bringing it to the attention of the Committee to see if there is anything you can do to help businesses in a similar position.

Q39 Chair: Are there any other issues of difficulty that you feel the Committee should be made aware of?

Natalie Chapman: There is one other thing I would like to add. It builds on James’ comments about costs. We see a huge benefit potentially to introduce it in certain sectors, but, if we are not careful, the cost of delivering during the Games could quickly outweigh those benefits. One particular area that Councillor West was talking about was in relation to penalty charge notices. Obviously we are very pleased as an industry that we will not have any £200 fines during the Games. We made some very clear representations to the Mayor’s transport adviser and we were delighted that that decision was not taken forward. Penalty charge notices are a big cost to our industry. Our members pick up millions of pounds a year in parking fines whilst making deliveries. That cost ultimately gets passed on to the consumer, so it is not good for Londoners in general.

We are concerned with the array of new additional restrictions and the layering effect of those additional restrictions. It will lead to some driver confusion. We would like to see an emphasis on compliance rather than enforcement. I understand from Westminster council, as one example, that they are going to be using marshalls to assist drivers rather than enforcement officers to issue penalty charge notices. We would like to see a bigger focus on helping us during a very busy and very difficult time rather than issuing us with lots of fines. It is fantastic that we are not going to have any £200 fines, but if we get £130 fines issued like confetti we really don’t want that to be our legacy as an industry.

James Bielby: That is an issue for our members as well. They perhaps fear that the local councils will use it as an opportunity to raise extra revenue. It was interesting to hear Catherine say that the boroughs want to adopt a common-sense approach at the same time as being consistent. The two things do not necessarily go well together. You cannot on the one hand take each issue on its merits but then say you have taken a consistent approach. As Natalie says, there is a concern about the opportunity for councils to make some extra revenue by issuing PCNs like confetti.

Q40 Paul Maynard: Did you at least recognise that what Councillor West said was true in so far as it creates a moral hazard? If you have such a low fine, then it represents very good value parking in London if you are sharing it among a car of six. How would you suggest that London Councils address this problem? I can see a lot of people just parking and happily paying the fine in order to see the Olympics for the first time ever.

Natalie Chapman: Yes. We recognise that as a potential issue. If you have a £130 fine-and it is £65 if you pay within 14 days-and you divide that £65 between four passengers in a car, it is cheaper than getting the train into London. Equally, if you put it up to £200, you are still only talking about £25 per passenger.

Q41 Paul Maynard: What is the solution then?

Natalie Chapman: The solution is about sensible enforcement. If people turn up to the Games in a car, they are already there. They would not then change their mind, particularly if they have tickets. By the time they have made the decision to get in the car, drive there and park, I do not think they would care what the fine level is and they will just take the risk. The key is about getting information to those spectators in advance of the Games. There is a lot of work going on for those that were lucky enough to get tickets to ensure that they will use public transport.

Q42 Chair: So it is about getting information to people in good time.

Natalie Chapman: It is about information prior to it and sensible enforcement on the day. It is recognising the difference between spectators turning up and parking cars and delivery vehicles making essential deliveries to businesses and residents located around the venues. It is about getting that balance. I do understand that it is a tricky balance to address, but as an industry-

Q43 Chair: Councillor West, do you want to comment on that?

Councillor West: What we have tried to do to help both small businesses but also our colleagues in the lorry industry is to produce some factsheets on our website of London Councils so that it is clear exactly what the London Lorry Control Scheme is. I know there is a bit of an urban myth out there about what it is and what it isn’t. The idea of some Olympic ushers standing around the place is a very positive one. We would be very happy to co-operate with the organisers, provided that it is their members of staff-councils are not currently in a position to take on a lot of staff; we are shedding staff rather than taking them on, unfortunately. We would be very happy, once the London organisers put on staff, to work with them in the various venues and to help. I am a big believer in human beings being much better than parking tickets.

Equally, many of us as elected representatives would have been on the phone when the poor person who wants to leave has their front driveway parked across by somebody who has decided to drive to the Olympic Games and park anywhere because that is what they want. We do have to get the balance right between the needs of business, the needs of the Games to go ahead but also the needs of ordinary Londoners, many of whom are not that keen about the whole Olympic Games project. We need to get the balance right between all of those different and competing groups.

Chair, would you allow me to come back on one issue at the end as a summing-up position? This is something we have not touched on.

Chair: Yes, but Ms Hilling has a question first.

Q44 Julie Hilling: I want to ask about the knock-on effect for those areas that are not part of the route network and what consideration there is for them. London is snarled up anyway. Does this mean there is just going to be a great deal of displaced traffic? How is that going to affect business on the peripheries? What work has been done on that?

Natalie Chapman: I understand that TfL have done a lot of modelling work and they have produced some hotspot maps. They have been really useful for our members. It gives them an idea of which locations are going to be busy on which days. The message we have been trying to get through to our members is that not every day is going to be the same.

Clearly there is going to be a focus on keeping the Olympic Route Network and the Games lanes clear. That is likely to have an impact on some of the adjoining roads and could perhaps push congestion out to some of the suburbs as well. You can do some modelling work, but, until we are there and we can see what the behaviour of motorists is, we don’t really know what that is going to be. For our members it is about taking the best intelligence that we have at the moment and the best modelling work, and making sure that they incorporate that within their scheduling so that they allow extra time. They will certainly need to put on extra vehicles. They will not be getting the same productivity out of vehicles or drivers that they currently do. So there is certainly a cost to our members as well in terms of supplying extra drivers and vehicles. That in itself could potentially lead to more congestion. Removing the underlying congestion from the road network for those who do have an alternative is going to be really important to us.

Q45 Julie Hilling: Further to that, there needs to be information to motorists. Those people who do have to drive into London are going to be looking for alternative routes. What information is being given to the normal Londoner?

Councillor West: Transport for London has begun the communications message about not using various routes. I know that large employers have been encouraged to have their staff work from home, for example, so that you do not have the same level of traffic demand. However, we would have to have the same absence of traffic demand as we had on the day of the Royal Wedding last year for every single day of the Olympic Games in order to achieve the target of a 30% reduction. We need a 30% reduction for the Games to run smoothly. That is what was achieved last year on the day of the Royal Wedding, if you all remember how little traffic there was that day. Maybe you were not down in London on that day, but it was very quiet indeed. It was a bit like Christmas Day. That is really what is hoped to be achieved.

I think that is a little unrealistic. However, one thing the Games organisers can do-and this was the point I wanted to raise earlier, Chair-is about the sponsors. I know this has been the subject of debate in the press. I do feel that the sponsors should be getting public transport like the rest of us. At the moment the arrangement is that the sponsors will be able to use the Games lanes. That is going to cause a lot more traffic than there needs to be. I do not see why they cannot get the train out to Stratford, which is a very good service. That is the expectation for ticketholders and the general public. It is just creating a massive Olympic Route Network and it also sends a very poor message about our confidence in what I think is an excellent Transport for London service. Perhaps that could be looked at further.

Q46 Chair: Are you still in discussions about that?

Councillor West: For the last two years we have been talking to Transport for London, LOCOG and the ODA about our concern that the number of sponsors and their vehicles is unquantified. Coca-Cola and McDonald’s might decide to traffic their VIPs around in a lot of different vehicles. That is just going to add to the traffic. We would like to encourage them on to public transport so that the Olympic Route Network and the Games lanes can be much more effective and used for the athletes. Everyone accepts that the athletes need to use them.

Q47 Chair: So you are in discussion on this.

Councillor West: Yes. We never give up.

Q48 Chair: Could each of you tell me if you see any positive legacy coming from the Games? After the Games have finished, is there anything from what you can see is happening that can leave a positive legacy for the future?

James Bielby: For us there is a positive outcome in terms of the relationship we have built up with TfL. The dialogue that we have been able to establish with them has been very good and hopefully we will be able to use that in the future. There is an opportunity to trial night-time deliveries, which, although there is an associated cost, could be something that could be used in the future. They would be the two main positives, although, as I said earlier, there are negatives as well around the impact on some businesses in terms of their future viability.

Q49 Chair: Ms Chapman, do you have anything to add?

Natalie Chapman: I would add to that that we are really pleased with the relationship we now have with Transport for London. In terms of the understanding of freight and the industry, I do not think we have ever had it so good. We are one of those sectors where you don’t notice us until something does not arrive or something goes wrong. If it snows heavily and we cannot get to you, then suddenly people say, "Why isn’t my parcel arriving?" We like to think that perhaps that is the magic of the supply chain-that we just get on and do it every day.

Certainly about 12 months ago there were lots of scare stories about pubs that weren’t going to get beer delivered, which was obviously a big concern. Those concerns have been addressed. Freight now has a much higher profile within Transport for London. It has a much higher political profile than it has ever had before, particularly in London. We just hope to build on that relationship that we have now formed.

We see night-time deliveries as a big legacy benefit. There are some other things that are being developed such as the freight journey planner that TfL have developed. That is going to assist operators with journey planning during the Games, but it is a long-term project anyway. It will exist once the Games are over. That will really help operators. If you have a look at it, it is a really fantastic piece of work that has been done.

Some companies are just looking at a different way of working. They are perhaps communicating better internally about the way they work. They are considering different things. They are considering night-time deliveries. They are looking in certain locations perhaps using cycle couriers or even joggers to come and deliver parcels. There are all sorts of different things. Some of those things are just for the Games and they will probably not continue, but we hope there will be a number of innovative solutions that have been put in place for the Games and lots of good news stories that we will hope to push out during the Games and beyond.

Q50 Chair: Mr Massett, can you think of any good news stories for taxis?

Richard Massett: It is difficult to think of any, I am afraid. I have to say that the only legacy for taxi drivers will be to confirm what many of them believe, which is that their trade is undervalued. They are not being assisted to get around.

Q51 Chair: What could be done, Mr Massett, even at this stage to change that?

Richard Massett: At this very late stage I don’t think anything can be done. If there were somebody to take a look at what has happened and how the taxi trade could be assisted to operate during the Olympics, then, yes, but at this stage I cannot see that happening at all.

Q52 Chair: Councillor West, are there any positive legacies that you see happening?

Councillor West: Yes. I feel there is still a lot of potential in the coming years to make as much as we can out of the way we have opened up the land for housing. We have a huge housing crisis in London. There is still a lot of potential there to have a range of affordable housing and for mixed use because of the wonderful transport connections. I would pay tribute to Transport for London and the whole of the London Transport experts for really opening up the east of London. If you catch the train now to Stratford, it is a lovely experience. They are beautiful new trains, and that is a wonderful legacy as well.

Finally, if you look at the investment and the number of jobs, it is lopsided. There have been masses of investment and not as many jobs as we had hoped. However, it has raised awareness around Westfield and some of the other larger developments. There are avenues now that local authorities and others can explore to provide jobs for local people.

Chair: Thank you very much to all of you for coming and answering our questions.

Examination of Witnesses

Witnesses: Andy Garner, Director London 2012, BAA Ltd, Robin Gisby, Managing Director, Network Operations, Network Rail, and Peter Hendy CBE, Commissioner of Transport, Transport for London, gave evidence.

Q53 Chair: Good afternoon. Could you please give us your name and organisation for our records?

Robin Gisby: I am Robin Gisby from Network Rail.

Peter Hendy: I am Peter Hendy, Commissioner of Transport, Transport for London.

Andy Garner: I am Andy Garner, London 2012 Director for BAA.

Q54 Chair: What are the biggest problems you are grappling with in relation to transport resilience for the Olympics? Or you can tell us, if you like, that you do not have any problems.

Peter Hendy: That would be hopeful, but if you are in my position you certainly would not want to say that there are none. We are less than 100 days away from the Olympics. We have put in, as some of the Committee heard when they came to the control centre last week, a lot of effort between us and our partners over the last several years. We still have a lot to do in terms of making sure that what we have planned will take place. There is still a lot of public information to go out in the run-up to the Games. Inevitably, we are still coping with small but additional demands that we are discovering as the intricacies of running the world’s largest sporting event unfold. We are also busy taking on board the lessons from the recent series of test events to make sure that we have understood what they told us and we are putting them into effect. I think that is a very large work programme. We are putting massive effort in, as I know all my colleagues are in the transport sector. We are still optimistic that when we get there, allowing for the fact that transport networks rarely run perfectly, we are in a fit condition to deliver what the nation expects both in respect of running the Games and also keeping London and the UK moving.

Robin Gisby: I do not have much to add to that. It is about fine-tuning the massive investment in infrastructure that has already gone in and making it more friendly and usable. It is about learning from the events and settling things down. Everything is built and everything works. There are odd hotspots that we will deal with. There will be odd days that will be difficult. We all know where those places are and which particular days they are. I think we now have the resilience. We have tested the systems, the interactions and relationships to do the best we can on those days.

Q55 Chair: Do you think you have sufficient contingency planning to deal with problems that arise?

Robin Gisby: Yes. We have that normally in running the things we do and the demands that are put upon them. This will be exceptional and extraordinary day after day. We have tested a wide range of scenarios. We have found some things that no doubt we can improve on, and, as Peter says, those plans are going in place. But the fundamental resilience of the infrastructure, the capacity and the systems we have has been proven already. We will just do the best job we can on the day.

Andy Garner: If I can speak for Heathrow airport, we expect to see 80% of the Games’ demand. We feel very well prepared. We realise we create the first impression of the Games as the Games Family arrive at Heathrow. We have prepared a lot, particularly for the big departure day on 13 August. That is very large on our radar. That is when everybody departs and is probably our biggest single challenge. We feel that in what I call normal operations we are very prepared to deliver a good Games.

Our one outstanding concern is that, as Heathrow runs at 99% capacity, if we lose airspace capacity for whatever reason-usually due to thunderstorms or wind during this time of year or for other reasons-we get disrupted by that. There are some measures that NATS and the CAA are in discussion about around prioritisation of scheduled airlines over business or general aviation that we would like to see concluded to help with that position.

Q56 Chair: At what stage are those discussions?

Andy Garner: I would say they are ongoing but not concluded. It is not clear to us how they will conclude. Our preparations assume that they will be concluded with there being no change, which means that aircraft will enter the London airspace on a first come, first served basis. We are preparing for that eventuality, but that will provide more disruption to customers at scheduled airports. For example, it gives equal prioritisation of a 400-seater 747 compared to a business jet.

Q57 Chair: When do you expect those discussions to be concluded?

Andy Garner: From a BAA point of view we do not have a clear date on it. Clearly we want to see that concluded before 27 June or the end of June, when we will see the arrival operations start to ramp up.

Q58 Chair: What about discussions between the airport, the airlines and passport and immigration services to deal with the large number of people who will be arriving at Heathrow?

Andy Garner: We have had a very constructive dialogue with Border Force, which has been going on for a considerable period of time. We feel the Border Force plan for the period of the Olympics is a good plan. For a period of seven weeks starting on 15 July, Border Force have committed to open every Border Force desk at Heathrow. We have compared our modelling approach to that in terms of the queues that will be in place, if that is the case. We believe that they will be a very low level of queue and well within the standards that Border Force have set for non-EU customers, EU customers and Games Family. We are working here and now to make sure that we improve service for all customers in the run-up to the Games. For the Games period we are very confident.

Recently we had a strike on 10 May, as I am sure the panel are aware. Border Force brought some of the resources to Heathrow airport that we would expect to see during the Games. I was a Silver Commander for Heathrow on that day. Queuing performance was good in the main. It gives us confidence that there are well-trained people out there to add to the normal work force to deliver a good experience.

Q59 Paul Maynard: Mr Hendy, how will I know if I am driving illegally in a Games lane on the Olympic Road Network?

Peter Hendy: It will be very comprehensively signed. There will be signs on the tarmac and signs along the road. There will be variable message signs to make sure that you know when it will be switched on and off because we have undertaken to take the Games lanes off when there is not a sufficient volume of Olympic traffic. You will actually find it quite difficult to get into one because of the volume of Olympic traffic. Up to 1,500 vehicles an hour will not give you much of a chance to get into a virtually continuous stream of buses and coaches full of athletes, judges and the sort of people who you need to run the Games.

Q60 Paul Maynard: Do you understand Councillor West’s concerns about the lack of signage and the lack of dialogue with TfL? Did that make sense to you?

Peter Hendy: Yes, I do. Unfortunately, normal business in London has been interrupted by the mayoral election. I have a meeting with her tomorrow morning, and when I have it I shall tell her that not only have we agreed to sign the ORN before the Games and leading up to the Games, saying that the ORN is coming along this road, but we are also going to change those signs during the Games to show that the ORN is in fact on that road.

Q61 Paul Maynard: Fantastic. I will phrase my second question in the hope of getting a similar positive response.

Chair: That is a very good start.

Peter Hendy: We do listen to people when they make a point. We just have to go away and fix it; that’s all.

Q62 Paul Maynard: That is a unique attitude in this country, I might add.

Peter Hendy: I do my best but I find it wearing sometimes.

Q63 Paul Maynard: Some of the cycling charities and organisations have pointed out that, whilst there is a lot of rhetoric about mode transfers and switching to walking and cycling, on your journey planner the cycling options do not seem to work very well and often just say, "You can’t do that; there is no cycle parking at the Olympic Park," or whatever. Have you tried to address that at all? Is that something you are familiar with?

Peter Hendy: Yes. We have had a dialogue. There is cycle parking at the Olympic venues. The journey planner will not often get you, for example, to cycle from Paddington to Stratford because it is quite a long way and it is not the sort of journey you would normally do. In fact, Councillor West remarked to me before we came in that she thought one of the problems would be that the towpath of the Grand Union Canal in Islington would be full of cyclists to the exclusion of pedestrians. That is quite likely because we have put in a lot of effort to make sure that people can cycle to the Games, where that is appropriate. We have put in something like 30 or 40 miles of cycle paths funded by Government and the ODA in order to make cycling and walking easier. I think that criticism is unjustified for the sorts of journeys that people would expect to make.

The one criticism that we cannot address is that the cycle hire scheme, though it has been extended eastward, does not reach the park. If you think about it for a moment, that conclusion is obvious because there is no cycle docking station on earth that would be able to cope with the sorts of numbers going to the Olympic Park. It goes nearly as far as Stratford, but we have to rely on people to use their common sense because, with hundreds of thousands of people going to the Park, the natural way of going, except for local people where walking and cycling is a possibility, is public transport.

Q64 Paul Maynard: I want to follow up with one question to Mr Gisby. It was very impressive to see the new King’s Cross concourse and the effort that has clearly gone into ensuring that that station can cope with the expected capacity it is going to have to deal with during the Olympics. However, we were also taken on our journey through London Bridge. We were shown the sheet of paper you had for that, showing the hotspots during the period of the Olympics, how crowded it was going to be and how, if you had a weak spot on the network, it was London Bridge. What steps have been taken over the past year or two to try to address the very obvious fact that London Bridge will be over capacity most of the time? You have thrown so much money at King’s Cross, but why didn’t you do anything at London Bridge as well?

Robin Gisby: We are going to rebuild London Bridge as part of the Thameslink programme but we will not do that by this summer. It is a very large project and will happen over the next four or five years, assuming that the planning application we have submitted does not get called in and the whole Thameslink project delayed. That is probably a debate for another day.

London Bridge will be difficult to manage. I said in opening that there are certain hotspots on certain days that will be difficult. Quite clearly we have flagged London Bridge as one of those, particularly on the day of the equestrian event out in Greenwich. We have worked very closely both with TfL and with the train operators, and we have put in plans there that will prevent some people getting off at London Bridge. We will run some trains straight through non-stopping, taking people into London and back out again. We are quite happy to submit this independently of this particular meeting.

If you look at the flows of people we expect to get through London Bridge, and particularly the contraflows of people wanting to get on and off trains and change mode from the tube to the overland railway and vice versa, there are some pressure points on individual platforms. The easiest solution to that is to prevent people getting off certain trains at certain times of the day and take them straight through and back again. That is one of the mitigations we have put in place. That is quite a large discussion between us and all the other parties. Those plans are in place and have been properly modelled. I have no doubt that is one place where we will very pleased at the end of those days in those hotspots that we have done the best job we can in the circumstances.

Q65 Iain Stewart: My first question is primarily for Mr Hendy. Much of the success of transport in London during the Games is going to rely on people who are travelling doing some forward planning. That could be people going to the Games or tourists visiting other parts of London plus the regular London residents and commuters. There is a lot of marketing going on to encourage people to plan ahead. Have you been able to assess how successful that campaign has been and the penetration of the message? Do you have any evidence that people are sensibly planning ahead for that?

Peter Hendy: We have done this in several stages. We started addressing large and medium-sized businesses that are big employers of people last autumn. We certainly have evidence where it matters-because it does not matter everywhere-clearly in Canary Wharf, in the east end around the venues and in central London, particularly in the City. For example, nearly every employer in Canary Wharf has a plan. There are 110,000 people who work there. We believe that something like 100,000 people are covered. If you are an employer, you clearly want your business to succeed and therefore you plan to do things with your staff.

It is not always evident currently that the employers have told their employees yet, but that is a slightly different issue. So the first thing was big employers. The next thing is to work continuously with employers and groups of employers either in locations or specific businesses to get that message across. We have done thousands of meetings and visits with those people. Recently we started on the Get Ahead of the Games campaign. That is a campaign for travellers and people. We do not expect that to produce anything like complete forward planning now. Even now, in the middle of May, probably not many people are able to say what they are going to do on 28 July. As one of the previous speakers said, every day is going to be different. We do anticipate that by early July people will be planning. We are measuring that all the time. We are very happy to come back to you a lot closer to the time and say what proportion we think we have got to.

If there is an issue for us at the moment, it is small and medium-sized businesses. They do not plan long ahead. They are not thinking years in advance. There we have two factors in our favour. One is that in virtually every sort of business you have stuff delivered. As you have heard from the FTA and the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, even if the customers are not aware, the people who send them and deliver them are aware and they are making their customers aware. We expect the Get Ahead of the Games material to get to sole traders in the same way in the end, because even they have to get to work. We are measuring it. Awareness is growing, but we have a lot more marketing to go yet and a bit of time before we get to that stage.

Finally, on the day, we really hope that people won’t turn up at London Bridge without having some appreciation, after all the work we have done. But, if they do, we will have people there to help them.

Q66 Iain Stewart: An additional challenge will be people who maybe do not have tickets for the Games but come up from Milton Keynes and say, "I want to be in London. I want to be part of it and experience the excitement and buzz." Is there a tranche of marketing and advertising that will happen right at the start so that people say, "I am coming from Milton Keynes. Where are the pinch points going to be in the network?"

Peter Hendy: I had a visit some weeks ago from Doug Kelsey, who is the Chief Operating Officer of the Vancouver Public Transport Authority. He said one of the things we should all be acutely aware of is the number of people who will come to this city just because it will be an exciting place to be, without any tickets for anything. We are working our way through those plans. Robin has several hundred screens at stations well outside London to put up advance information before the day and information on the day. We are planning to cope with a lot of people who just come to London for the excitement.

Of course they are a relatively easy audience because there will be so much to do. There will be this huge suite of cultural events. You will not have to go to any particular place to enjoy it. You can just come to the city and enjoy it and the city will be dressed. I am sure you have seen all of those plans. We are thinking our way through that because the numbers who are coming might be fairly substantial, particularly on outside event days, and nearly every day has an outside event. We are working our way through that, but they are a slightly different form of crowd in the sense that they are people who are just happy to be here to experience the thrill of the place rather than actually attending a particular event at a particular time at a particular place.

Q67 Iain Stewart: I want to ask one supplementary question. You say you have spoken to people in Vancouver. Is there evidence from other cities that have hosted the Olympics about how you deal with that last-minute surge into the city? Have there been particular models that have been tried and failed or tried and succeeded?

Peter Hendy: I asked Doug Kelsey what he would do again if he had that opportunity, and he said one of the best things they did was to get as many people on the staff as they could out on the platforms, the streets and the stations to help people. We are getting well over 3,000 people from our administrative and managerial staff out in magenta tabards so that they can help those people. They will be in a good frame of mind. Some of them will need travel advice and we aim to give them the travel advice.

Q68 Steve Baker: Mr Hendy, my attention was drawn to the website cyclelondoncity.blogspot.co.uk, where there is a fairly comprehensive complaint about cycling provision. Rather than run you through the details, could you just confirm what the main cycling route is to use to approach the Olympic Park?

Peter Hendy: It depends from which direction. There is a whole network of cycling routes. I have not been to that website. There are some very strong views about cycling in London. We have to manage cycling in London alongside significant road traffic and pedestrian routes. I think Catherine West is right in what she said to me outside, which is that one of the most popular routes will be the Grand Union Canal towpath into east London. The Cycle Superhighway 2 gets as far as the Bow roundabout. We will have finished the improvements there before the Games. It is not an obvious way to go from a lot of London, but then, as I said before, I am not sure that people will cycle there from miles away, simply because the public transport provision at Stratford is so good.

Q69 Steve Baker: Forgive me because this only came to me this morning, but there seems to be some confusion. This article suggests that that towpath is going to be closed during the Olympics.

Peter Hendy: I am even newer to this issue than you are. She seemed to think, as the leader of Islington, that it was open because she was worried about conflict. Closer to the Park some of the towpaths are shut for security reasons. The Park has various entrances, but you can ask people who know better than I. I feel fairly certain that if you want to cycle to the Park you will be able to do it, and if you want to park your bike at the Park you will be able to do that too.

Q70 Steve Baker: Where can cyclists find authoritative information, please?

Peter Hendy: I suspect a combination of our website, which is TfL.gov.uk/2012, and whatever your witnesses from the ODA and LOCOG say will do the trick.

Q71 Steve Baker: Mr Gisby, have you had any conversations or thoughts about additional cycles on trains during the course of the Olympics?

Robin Gisby: No, I have not explicitly, but I think I would discourage them in the morning peak, given the volumes that we will be moving. There is pretty good cycle provision of personally owned bicycles on the Transport for London network at the mainline stations. Clearly you can bring in the smaller foldable ones, but I do not think anything going further would work, given the other demands we will have on capacity.

Q72 Julian Sturdy: Mr Garner, with the potential of 4,000 additional flights proposed over the Olympic period and with Heathrow running at capacity or near capacity, are you satisfied that you can cope with those additional numbers coming in or is the airport side-the aviation side-the weak link in the run-up to the Olympics.

Andy Garner: Let me be clear on what that 4,000 extra traffic is. That is spread across pretty much a four-week period before and after the Games.

Q73 Julian Sturdy: It did say, though, that it would be focused mainly before the Olympics and after the Olympics. Those are the two critical periods-before and after.

Andy Garner: Yes. It peaks around the departure after the Games and the 100 metre final. As far as Heathrow is concerned, during the summer we normally run a small level of general aviation, which is about 1%. For the period 14 July through 14 September Heathrow has suspended general aviation, so Heathrow will only be running its scheduled operation with no additional movements. Measurements have been put in place to manage those extra movements, which is slot co-ordination of the airports that are not usually slot co-ordinated-i.e. Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted-so that is the other 30 or so airfields around the south-east. We believe those measures and the measures around additional airspace created temporarily for the period of the Games are adequate. We have seen the modelling that has been done by NATS in that case to deal with those extra movements. Normally there are 7,000 movements during that period. This is an additional 4,000 on 7,000. Our concern is if we lose airspace capacity for whatever reason; that is the point I made earlier.

Q74 Julian Sturdy: As it stands at the moment, you have modelled it and you are satisfied that as long as there is no issue that would lose you current capacity, which could be weather-related and so on, you would be happy with that current number. You feel that you can adequately cope with that.

Andy Garner: From an airport point, just to be clear, NATS have responsibility for that. They have done the modelling. People within my organisation who are experts in those matters have seen that modelling, and, yes, they believe that under normal full capacity scenarios there is sufficient airspace capacity provided to deal with those extra movements.

Q75 Julian Sturdy: I am led to believe, reading through the papers, that on peak days-we are talking about either before or at the end of the Olympics-at Heathrow we will see something like a 45% increase in passengers going through and it will be the busiest that Heathrow has ever been. Also, people will be going through with not always standard luggage but larger amounts of luggage and so on. Are you happy that that side of things can be handled on the ground?

Andy Garner: Yes, particularly the departure date of 13 August of this year, as I mentioned earlier, when those numbers are at the most exaggerated. To be clear, because we are just operating scheduled services, there are 138,000 seats. That is the maximum that can depart. We have planned for every seat to be full leaving Heathrow. The key challenge on that particular day is that we expect 200,000 bags to depart. Normally on a peak summer’s day there are 150,000 bags that depart. As you say, 15% of the Games Family’s bags, which are the athletes’ bags, are of an odd size-bikes and so on.

If I can just précis the measures we have put in place to deal with that, on 12 August we will do remote check-in at the Olympic Village and lift 35,000 bags from that Village. We will take them to Heathrow and use the capacity we have overnight to sort those bags and build them into containers for departure on 13 August. We have put in place the purpose-built Games terminal to operate for what we expect to be 10,000 athletes that we will have given boarding cards to on 12 August. They will come through that Games terminal and that provides us with the extra capacity for security machines in particular. We have assumed in our calculations for 20% more Games Family than we would expect in our planning. We have assumed 100% seat factors. We would expect the front doors of Terminals 1, 3, 4 and 5 to be like they would be on a normal summer day at Heathrow. In summary, that is our plan to deal with those additional volumes on departure.

Arrivals are more spread. Athletes will come in on 16 July. The peak arrivals, mainly sponsors, will be on 26 July. The extra baggage and outsized baggage is not coming in on the peak arrival date. We feel confident that the measures we have put in place will be appropriate for that challenge.

Q76 Kwasi Kwarteng: With regard to this very point, addressing BAA, Heathrow has been in the news with regard to the UKBA and what is going on there. Do you think that could in any way disrupt or potentially pose a challenge to you and what you are trying to do at this critical period?

Andy Garner: As I said in my opening, our dialogue with Border Force has been constructive for the Olympics. Prior to the recent headlines Border Force had been planning to bring additional resource to Heathrow for the Games period. Our more recent discussions have taken the level of resources coming to Heathrow up to another level. Initially it was not intended to man every desk at Heathrow during the Games period from 15 July for seven weeks. That is now the intent. The calculations that we have done, borne out by empirical evidence, suggest that there will be a very good level of key performance for all customers-not just Games Family customers.

Q77 Kwasi Kwarteng: Would you be prepared in front of this Committee to guarantee that there will be no disruptions coming from the UKBA as we have seen in the last few weeks?

Andy Garner: A guarantee is a question for Border Force. From an Airport Authority point of view, from all the evidence that we have seen-I mentioned earlier the strike day that we had on 10 May-we have as much assurance as we can that there will be a good level of performance during the Games period.

Q78 Chair: Mr Garner, a good level of assurance is not enough. You have mentioned the Border Force. If something goes wrong at Heathrow, it will be spectacularly wrong and the whole world will know about it. If people were to end up stuck there and not able to get through, they will not be worrying about whether it is the Border Force or the airport or anyone else; they will just know they can’t get through. Is this being looked at in a sufficiently high profile way?

Andy Garner: Yes. There is a lot of concentration at a very senior level. My chief executive, Colin Matthews, is in regular dialogue with Theresa May and senior Government officials on this matter. We have seen over recent weeks more resource coming into Heathrow. We are seeing much better performance here and now in the run-up to the period. That has been a great concern for us. We feel a good level of confidence about the Games period, but what about the period before and the period directly after? We are seeing a progressive improvement in Border Force’s performance, which gives a demonstration to us that things are improving. If we put two and two together and we see the resources that Border Force are going to add to the resources that they have in the period running up, then the modelling suggests that there will be a good level of performance during that period-as I say, for all customers and not just the Games Family.

Chair: It has to be more than a "good level", hasn’t it? It has got to work.

Q79 Julie Hilling: I want to ask a question similar to one I put to the last panel, about the knock-on effect of the Olympic Route on transport, particularly on cars and freight. This is particularly keen for me as my family got stuck for an hour and a half on Edgware Road yesterday and then an hour in the Mall. What contingencies are in place for traffic off the main Olympic Route? What about information and managing that traffic if snarl-ups occur?

Peter Hendy: It is obviously a very germane subject. The Olympic Route Network is obligatory and is designed to deliver athletes and others not in the fastest possible time but in the most reliable way to the venues for their events. Atlanta was such a spectacular disaster in terms of getting athletes to events that we clearly cannot have that happening. The consequence of the introduction of the Olympic Route Network when it does occur on 25 July-we have left it that late so it does not disrupt London unduly-is to restrict access and egress from the Network and you have to make it run reliably. As you have described, it will have a knock-on effect in the areas around it. The Olympic Route Network itself operates in different places on different days, because as the peripheral venues drop out so you take the ORN away. The areas around the ORN quite clearly will be affected, as will the areas around the venues.

Last year we put out to the freight and logistics industry, and others who were interested, maps by day of the areas that will be affected by this on a daily basis. We have now extended that on the Get Ahead of the Games website to public information about those areas that will be affected. There will be some fairly strong messaging, which will be similar to the sort of messaging you get on the state opening of Parliament day and on Royal wedding days, saying "Please avoid these areas," because clearly capacity will be affected. It is like a Royal wedding or a state opening of Parliament or, for that matter, the Diamond Jubilee. It is just that this goes on for longer.

That is why we have worked so hard with the freight and logistics industry to make sure that they can plan their businesses. We do not want to disrupt businesses. Indeed, many hospitality and pub/restaurant businesses will be busier. That is why we want them to plan so that, if they can deliver out of those areas and out of the Games period, that is a great thing to do. If you have to come in, can you do it at night or in the evening? Can you actually avoid those busy times and busy places? Between now and the Games we will ramp up that information. We hope that, by the time we get there, nobody who thinks that they might drive in or around those areas will not know that it will be more difficult and can avoid it if they want.

Q80 Julie Hilling: Will staff be deployed in those outside areas as well to assist if snarl-ups occur? Will they assist in directing people to alternative routes and to get the traffic moving again?

Peter Hendy: We have a financial arrangement with the Metropolitan Police. We pay for a relatively large number of transport police as well as their own deployment of traffic police. As part of the Olympic transport investment, we have also invested in extra computer- controlled signals. We expect to do quite a lot of this by the signal system and previous public information, but we certainly will have PCs and PCSOs on the ground if we need them because there may well be occasions when just getting people to direct traffic is the right thing to do.

Q81 Julie Hilling: I want to ask about taxis. One of our last witnesses talked about no clear plan for taxis to get to the main Olympic Stadium at the moment. It is particularly important for disabled people coming to the Games as going on the underground or other systems is not a suitable alternative. What is happening with taxis?

Peter Hendy: I am sorry that the taxi trade representative was rather deprecatory about the whole thing. I have not yet, in 11 years of being responsible for taxi licensing, managed to learn how to make the taxi trade happy for a long period of time. One of the things we are going to do is to give every taxi driver in London a handbook about how to access the venues and what is going on with the road network. It is not complete yet. The reason it is not complete is because the ODA is producing it and it has a lot of information in there from LOCOG. It has to be absolutely right. I want to see it as the ultimate taxi licensing authority. Every licensed taxi driver in London will get accurate information about how to access the venues and where the ranks are. There will be ranks at Stratford. It is correct that they will not be in the Northern Transport Mall. That is because they will be right next to it. They will be in the Southern Transport Mall and there will be a rank outside Stratford station, as there is today. That has been communicated to the LTDA because I told the general secretary myself a fortnight ago.

It is difficult to communicate with the taxi trade because they are 25,000 individuals. We will get every one of them a handbook with up-to-date and correct information about the road system during the Olympics, access to the venues, and in particular for those people who need door-to-door transport because of disabilities. It is really important to us, as I am sure it is to the organisers, that the trade can do its job properly. I also predict that those in the trade who do not go on holiday will do rather well out of London being absolutely full of visitors and people with disabilities, who regard the taxi industry as their lifeline and who, if they have tickets, will want to go to the Games.

Q82 Chair: It did seem from what we heard that the taxi industry feel very unloved.

Peter Hendy: Always.

Q83 Chair: Is there anything else you can do to make this a bit better?

Peter Hendy: I think it is the best taxi industry in the world. Fortunately, not every taxi driver feels unloved. To be fair to Richard, the LTDA and the other taxi organisations, they are very difficult to communicate with because they all are individuals and they all work in their own way. That is why we are going to get every single one of them the information that they need.

Chair: Let us hope that starts to change the perceptions.

Q84 Paul Maynard: I have three quick questions for Mr Gisby-at least I hope they are quick. The Paralympics is certainly a very different challenge from the Olympics because of the numbers of people with restricted mobility. That is an appalling term but everyone seems to be using it now. One of the strangely missed opportunities would appear to be the use of Hackney Wick station as a way of getting into and out of the Olympic Park. You could have had ramp access as opposed to the lift access that you have at Stratford and West Ham. Why do you think that was not progressed? Am I missing something there?

Robin Gisby: I am as well; I don’t know. I have been passed a note here and I will come back to you separately on that point.1 Elsewhere, we have put in a lot of extra provision and we have a lot of lift engineers and others on standby right throughout all the events to make sure that it works as well.

Q85 Paul Maynard: It should be pointed out that, unless people with wheelchairs do use public transport, the Paralympics will not be a success. We have to make sure that that occurs.

My second quick question is that in the past, on those rare occasions when the temperature goes above 30 degrees, which does not often happen but today is different-

Robin Gisby: It appears to be happening at the moment, yes.

Paul Maynard: -the overhead cables on the services into Liverpool Street have not always been as resilient as we would all like them to be. Are there any assurances you can give that those weaknesses have been addressed for the coming summer, which we know might be a hot summer now?

Robin Gisby: Yes indeed. We have been doing an extensive programme of work. In places we have been renewing the overhead wires, working from Liverpool Street outwards. In addition, we have changed our focus in the last few months and have concentrated on a massive campaign of defect removal, which is going very well, and also extra resilience as a result of the effects of hot weather. We are on top of it. It is one of a number of challenges we face on the infrastructure between Liverpool Street and Stratford, but we are in much better shape than we were.

Q86 Paul Maynard: Lastly, you have placed great store on the Javelin services being one of the signature legacies of the Games and being the service to use to get to the Olympic Park. Do you have a concern that, given the capacity of Javelin per hour, the number of people seeking to use it will far exceed that capacity? How much contingency planning have you put in place to direct people round slightly longer routes to get to the Olympic Park that do not involve the prestige Javelin service?

Robin Gisby: Managing demand as it emerges is a wider aspect of what we will do through the TCC that you saw in your visit the other day beyond just the Javelin. We are very conscious about managing queues. We are very conscious about moving people through alternative routes. As far as possible, quite clearly we would like people to go on preferred routes and routes they have seen through websites. We are very aware that the Javelin service will be somewhat iconic. We have changed, with some excellent co-operation with the Border Force and so on, the queuing and transit arrangements at St Pancras. There are some really imaginative proposals in place there so that we can manage extra demand. It may happen, for various reasons, that at some point we have to divert people on to other choices compared with flocking towards the Javelin, which they might have wanted on the way out or on the way back. The TCC will be on top of that. If it happens, we will be able to give people real-time information and the choice. "If you want to go on the Javelin, it probably involves a total journey time, queuing, transfer and actual transit time of this compared with some of the alternatives." Those are plans that we have tested so far. We may have to put them in place depending on how the queues emerge on the night

Q87 Steve Baker: Are the rail and tube systems ready for the Games?

Peter Hendy: The answer is yes. That is not to say that on any particular day, as far as the railway services we run are concerned, they will always run perfectly because they are fallible, but the answer is yes. Stratford in particular and the Olympic venues are well served by rail services. There is quite a lot of resilience-in fact far more resilience than in some of the Games stadia in recent Games and cities across the world.

Q88 Steve Baker: With that resilience in mind, is there a danger that there will be overcapacity after the Games?

Peter Hendy: I think not. One of the great things about these Games is that the site at Stratford in particular, it seems to me, is going to develop fairly quickly after the Games. I think that every bit of the capacity at Stratford will be needed. I do not think that any of us think that anything has been built that will not have a use in the fairly near term.

Robin Gisby: I would completely agree with that. Yes, we will be ready. I do at times feel rather short of capacity at the moment, so anything else that is a legacy of this will be very useful.

Q89 Iain Stewart: I have a quick supplementary question to one of Mr Hendy’s answers to Ms Hilling’s questions about the provision of information to motorists. Have you reached any agreement with any of the sat-nav companies about getting special information out during the Games or are you just going to rely on the standard system that is already in place?

Peter Hendy: We have had discussions with everybody producing sat-nav equipment in order to make the information we have about the day-by-day effects of the different Games, both around the Stadium and the road events, available. We have quite a lot of evidence that sat-nav companies are taking this on board. The freight journey planner, which is, again, freely available as a journey planner and the information from it is freely available to other people or will be, rather, very shortly in a few days, is another attempt at making sure that this granular information on a day-by-day basis is available as widely as possible. What they do with it and how they incorporate it into equipment that people have already bought is a different issue. That is quite difficult to achieve. We have tried every method we can to get this stuff out because, frankly, it is not in our interests not to.

Q90 Chair: What is the greatest legacy that the Games are going to leave us in relation to transport?

Robin Gisby: From most of our perspectives, there are two things. There is a lot more physical infrastructure capacity that will be extremely useful, particularly as the centre of gravity of the east end moves out much more towards Stratford, which you can already see happening. Secondly, there are the working relationships between all the different modes and the different organisations. What has come together-you saw an example of it with the TCC-in how we are dealing with issues across modes and different organisations has been absolutely transformed. Even in the first few days of managing the Torch Relay, which is building excitement every day, and how we have responded to issues that we have had, the working relationships across all of us have vastly improved.

Peter Hendy: I would add two things to that. First of all, the travel demand management programme of getting people to think about how, when and where they travel is the largest single programme ever anywhere in the world, to our knowledge. We believe that the consequence of that will be to make many businesses think hard and long about how, where and the conditions under which they employ people. That will be of the greatest use because in the longer term, with both the population and number of jobs in London increasing, that might produce extra capacity on the transport network far more cheaply than building new links, although I have no doubt those will be needed as well.

The other point is the reference that your previous witnesses made to freight and deliveries. I would echo what the FTA, in particular, said. We have never had such a good dialogue with the freight and logistics industries. I am very pleased that we do now. I hope that the legacy is that we will be able to prove that out-of-hours and overnight deliveries are neither as difficult as anybody thought nor as costly. If we can do that, then we can transfer capacity between a road network that is at full capacity during the day to times when it is not at full capacity, when the efficiency of the vehicles is better, and when we can prove it does not disturb people residentially. That will in itself be a fantastic legacy as well as all the physical stuff that Robin refers to.

Q91 Chair: Mr Garner, what do you think the legacy will be?

Andy Garner: From a physical point of view at Heathrow, our legacy is under three headings. For passengers with restricted mobility, there are a lot of improved capabilities due to the Paralympics. We have beefed up our baggage and IT resilience.

I echo what Mr Gisby said about the team-working. We have coined the phrase "Team Heathrow", which consists of 200 organisations, LOCOG and some volunteers we have brought in. They are really working much better together as a team. We have recruited 1,000 volunteers at Heathrow. We would like to continue with the volunteer programme to improve customer service on an ongoing basis at Heathrow.

Finally, all of our head office employees will work. Some of them are going to manage the volunteers. They will work 10 shifts during the Games. Everybody will work three. In terms of head office thinking, being at the front line with customers during this time will be a great legacy for us in terms of our mindset going forward.

Chair: Thank you very much for coming and answering our questions.

Examination of Witnesses

Witnesses: Hugh Sumner, Director of Transport, Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), Richard George, Director of Transport, London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG), and Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, Secretary of State, Department for Transport, gave evidence.

Q92 Chair: Good afternoon and welcome to the Transport Select Committee. Could you give your names and organisation for our records?

Hugh Sumner: My name is Hugh Sumner and I am from the Olympic Delivery Authority.

Justine Greening: I am Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Transport.

Richard George: I am Richard George, Director of Transport for LOCOG.

Q93 Chair: What do you see as the major transport risks in relation to the Olympics as you look at it at this stage?

Justine Greening: Perhaps I could answer that question and then I am sure Richard and Hugh will want to follow on. From my perspective, there is an issue of transport overload that we need to make sure we manage properly. Essentially, this is some of the demand management we talked about but also the capacity that we are going to be coping with. That is the clear risk that we will continue to work on.

Co-ordination of the Last Mile is important. We are well prepared and well planned to deliver an excellent public transport Games. We also need to make sure that that Last Mile, as people get into the venues, is well co-ordinated. There has been test planning to practise doing that.

The other thing for me is making sure we get the passenger and motorist information right for people so that they feel they know what is going on and therefore they can help manage the disruption down to themselves as well. That is really important.

Q94 Chair: Does anyone else want to add anything further? Mr Sumner, what is concerning you?

Hugh Sumner: I guess there are three challenges we face. The first one is the duration of the Games. We have to perform in the lead-up to the Games, during the Games and the transition to the Paralympic Games, and then during the Paralympic Games itself. It is a long duration that the transport industry has to perform and deliver across the nation.

The second challenge we face-Peter touched on it earlier-is around unticketed spectators and general visitors, where people will be coming to London to enjoy the Games. Managing them effectively and giving them a great day out will be a challenge. That is an unknown quantity but we do know it will be big with the road events on every day.

The third challenge, which is more germane to ourselves now, is that, with something like 65 days to go, we need people to be planning and booking their transport now. They have their sports ticket and now we need them to buy their transport for the Games so that they can get the right trains to get down from Manchester or to go to Cardiff, or wherever they may be going, so they can enjoy their day out and experience the Games in all their glory. Those are the three things that are on my mind at present.

Q95 Chair: What assumptions have you made about the numbers of people who will come to London, whether they are going to the Games or not?

Hugh Sumner: We have done extensive modelling over the last seven years in terms of where people might be travelling to and from. We have checked that back against the Organising Committee’s databases of where people have bought tickets from. The good news is that the original volume predictions we had around where people would be travelling from Manchester down to London are roughly what we originally envisaged. That is good news because it means we have a load versus capacity balance on the mainline, direct coach and park and ride-those things we initially envisaged. They will not be perfectly right because no prediction ever is, but it gives us confidence that we can go into the Games in a reasonable frame of mind.

Q96 Chair: How many visitors will there be to London?

Hugh Sumner: To give you a sense of the sorts of numbers we are looking at, if you talk about people from the near continent-say, Holland, Belgium, France and northern Germany-it is about 250,000 from there alone coming to the Games with sports tickets and probably the same again who are unticketed. In terms of the UK itself, there are probably 3 million ticketed spectators and probably at least the same again unticketed from further regions. There are very large numbers of people. In total, we are probably talking about moving nearly 20 million people during the Games time to sports events and non-sporting events such as the live sites and cultural events. It is a very big challenge, but the industry has risen to that challenge and I think it is in good shape; nevertheless it is going to be a tough few months for us all.

Q97 Chair: Mr George, what are your concerns at the moment?

Richard George: My concerns are slightly different from those of my colleagues. My colleagues in the public transport systems have put in a fantastic amount of effort. They are well prepared and have been enormously helpful in getting our Games plans ready as well. The challenge that we within LOCOG face is a slightly different one, and that is making sure that all these bits come together to have a fantastic Games. Unlike my colleagues, my own transport systems will be completely new. They will have to work out of the box from day one. They are not systems that we are adapting for the Games. They will be bespoke systems for the Games and they will have to work straight out of the box. That is going to be a challenge and that will always be a challenge-making sure that that works and that I can manage the expectations of the International Olympic Committee. This is not Beijing: this is London. The fact that this is London and it is famed for its fantastic public transport system is something that I tell them repeatedly. Managing their expectations will be an important part of my job.

Q98 Chair: You are responsible to the International Olympic Committee. What sorts of concerns have they raised with you?

Richard George: They have something called the Co-ordination Commissions. We have had 10 Co-ordination Commissions. When I first arrived with LOCOG I think it is fair to say that they were highly critical and highly worried about the transport. By the final Co-Com they were very complimentary and very happy with where we are in terms of our readiness. Their concern would be the same things as we have been discussing for everybody else. There is concern about how congested the city will be; how congested the public transport system will be; and to make sure that we, LOCOG, are able to deliver for them absolutely the right sort of service for the athletes and officials to make sure the Games take place properly. They are similar concerns to those that we all have.

Q99 Chair: How important is it that background transport is reduced by 30%? That is one of the objectives.

Justine Greening: It would ease our challenge if we were able to do that. We have planned to cope with additional journeys on top of what we would ordinarily expect. We see crowd management and then demand management as key parts of how we can make sure we do not make our job any harder and more challenging than it already inevitably is. Unlike most Olympics, where you have a site away from the city that it is hosting it and it is slightly out of town, ours is quite unusual. You have the Olympic Park, but a lot of the sporting venues are right in the heart of this city. That will make it special and fantastic, but it also means that we are trying to combine a day-to-day group of people moving around the city with the spectators and visitors. It is important.

Have we planned to make sure that we should be able to deal with that and cope with the extra on top? Yes; that is what we have planned to do. If we can get people and companies to work with us to help manage the disruption of what will necessarily be a busy city to them, then that will just make things better for everyone.

Q100 Kwasi Kwarteng: It seems to me that there are a lot of players in the arena in terms of delivering the transport that we need for the Olympics. Is there a risk that the responsibility seems to be slightly fragmented? Ultimately, who is going to carry the can if this thing does not work out as we want it to?

Justine Greening: I can see Richard wanting to jump in.

Richard George: It is a question that we have been asked frequently and there is no simple answer. I will answer it in two ways. One is that the level of co-operation that has taken place among all the various different authorities and transport groups has been phenomenally good. I have worked in transport in this country for 35 years and I have never known all the different authorities come together in quite the way that they have for this. The co-operation and co-ordination has been fantastic.

Who is going to be to blame if it goes wrong? I am sure Peter Hendy will tell you that he is always to blame. I rather think it depends on what the issue is. I can assure you that if one athlete turns up late for one race I will get the blame. So it really depends on what the issue is.

Justine Greening: You are right that one of the challenges is making sure that all those partnerships work. As Peter Hendy and some of the other witnesses have said, that is probably one of the most important legacies we will get from the Games. People are working together and we work as one team rather than several teams. As to how we have made sure that that has happened, at the strategy level we have the Games Transport Board, chaired by Peter Hendy, which pulls everyone together.

At the operational level you went to see the Transport Co-ordination Centre, which is where we make sure people are in the same room in the first place. In fact, last night I was at a networking event where we were literally getting people in the individual teams of the different organisations in the same room to have a drink, have a chat and to meet one another, so that when they pick up the phone they have met the person that they are talking to and they actually know them.

There is a lot of work going on and hopefully we will avoid that situation of there being a problem that somebody ultimately has to be responsible for.

Q101 Kwasi Kwarteng: In your role, do you see this as a Department for Transport thing? Do you think the success of the Games is something that you are quite willing to be judged on?

Justine Greening: It is important that the DfT pulls this together. We have worked hand in hand with all other partners and with TfL. Yes, absolutely, I am determined to make sure that our Department does a fantastic job that we can be really proud of for ourselves as a team-and a huge amount of work has gone on-but also on behalf of our Government and our country. Whether you work in the DfT and you are one of those many officials we have had working with LOCOG and TfL or whether you are a taxi driver, a bus driver or anyone, all of us ultimately just want to deliver a fantastic Games to people. That is the overriding objective. Coming together as one team to do it is really the key to success.

Q102 Chair: Have you taken any special steps in relation to aviation? The airport is the gateway here. It is critical for athletes and visitors. If anything goes wrong there in terms of people getting through the airport on time, it would be a spectacular catastrophe that would be known worldwide. It is not just a local matter. Have you taken any special steps to address the problems related to that?

Justine Greening: On airspace, as the BAA witness talked about, we have delivered temporary slot co-ordination plans across the key airports and airfields in the south-east that we needed to. We know exactly who is coming in and who is leaving, so that helps. We have had NATS and CAA look at how we can take steps to manage the airspace, which is why we have temporarily fixed maximum hourly capacities at each of the airfields. Obviously we are working specifically with BAA in particular.

We will have additional controls in the airspace so that we can manage down the risk that we will have a large number of private jets entering the airspace in the first place. In terms of this first come, first served debate that has been happening, that is something we have looked very closely at. In fact, I was over at Heathrow about a month and a half ago and Colin Matthews raised it with me. We took it back and asked NATS and CAA to look at it explicitly. We hosted a Heathrow Leadership Group meeting at the DfT about three Mondays ago.

On that issue we broadly have to deal with airspace users equitably. That is a normal approach. NATS do have the flexibility that I think they need in order to be able to take sensible decisions about the issue that Steve Baker raised about a small private jet and then a large 747 being landed. If it is landing, landing safely and safety is always of paramount importance for NATS. If it is taking off, though, they are very clearly tasked to maintain the "most expeditious flow" of air traffic as a whole. I think that does give them the flexibility, hopefully, to work effectively with BAA in managing what will be a very busy time. CAA is still talking with the airlines and with NATS about what else we can do to make it even better. I have been very clear with Heathrow’s operator and the airlines that, if they have any specific proposals that they want us to look at, we will be absolutely prepared to look at them.

We think we have done a number of things that could help. There is still time to do more if we think we can get better plans, and that is what we continue to look at.

Q103 Chair: What about the Border Force Agency?

Justine Greening: We have seen in recent weeks how important it is that we have that operation running successfully. It is absolutely right that the Home Office have already put additional resources into the Border Force in order to tackle some of these queues right now that we have seen recently. On top of that, there will be additional resources again that are planned. Another legacy that has come out of the work that we have done for the Olympics has been far better working between BAA and the Border Force, not just in day-to-day management but also in their modelling of passenger flows.

My very first meeting that I had off-site for the DfT when I got this job was to go to Heathrow and talk to them about Olympics preparation. One of the biggest challenges that we started off with was that BAA did their modelling of arrivals and the Border Force had a different model of arrivals. Therefore it was not surprising that they necessarily reached different conclusion about when busy times were. What we have done for the Olympics is to get one version of the truth that we all agree is what we are planning for, and that is how we have then worked up the resources.

Q104 Chair: Who is in charge of doing that?

Justine Greening: It is a Home Office lead, obviously. We have provided support wherever we can as the day-to-day liaison with BAA. They have worked in partnership.

Q105 Iain Stewart: I would like to turn to the security risks to the transport network. First, I have a very general question. Do you think you have sufficient resources available to police the network on everything from small-scale incidents like cable theft, which potentially have a huge impact on the network, right up to, God forbid, a 7/7 style attack somewhere on the transport system? Do you think you have sufficient resources?

Justine Greening: The answer is yes. We do have some tried and tested security systems and transport security approaches across our network that are already there. We have not been building on nothing. We have looked to see where we need to augment those, whether it is with resourcing or better process. Peter talked about all the volunteers that will be out, for example. We have looked very carefully at what extra we need to do. We have explicitly looked at all of our venues to understand what the transport security risk is. Obviously some of them will have different risks because we know they are busier than they ordinarily would be and therefore we have had to build those into our plans.

You are quite right to mention the British Transport Police. They have a key role to play in this too. One of the concerns we have seen that has disrupted the transport system recently has been around metal theft. It is one of the reasons why we have set up the task force to make sure we are on the front foot in starting to tackle this in advance of the Olympics. There has been good working and people will see a significantly higher visible police presence during the Olympics.

Q106 Iain Stewart: Are you satisfied that those resources can cover both the venues for the Olympics and the broader network itself? It could be just as disruptive to take Westminster tube station out of the system, for example, as to police the immediate vicinity of the Olympic Park.

Justine Greening: The Home Office are responsible for policing overall. When it comes to venues, that would be their lead. In terms of transport security and safety, we have the Metropolitan Police Safer Transport Command Centre and therefore there is good partnership working between the British Transport Police and the Met. Additionally, we have our experience of getting the network fully up and running when it has had challenges to its resilience, whether that is through normal day-to-day network problems or terrorism attacks, as we saw with 7/7. We do have those experiences to learn from. They have provided a valuable insight into how we can make sure we keep Londoners on the move.

Q107 Julie Hilling: I have questions in a couple of areas. The first is on air quality. Clean Air and others have a very serious concern about the impact of the Games on air quality. Will the transport arrangements lead to breaches of air quality law?

Justine Greening: The short answer is no. We did get expert advice from not just TfL but the ODA. It was actually the Minister of State who signed off the plans, but the process that she went through was absolutely the right one to look at whether there was an issue for air quality before she signed it off. It was informed by expert advice.

Q108 Julie Hilling: The Olympic Delivery Authority’s Strategic Environment Assessment included a statement saying that "the number of daily mean exceedances at some roadside sites is anticipated to be more than the allowable number of exceedances."

Justine Greening: You are obviously going to have some minor differences to air quality simply because the ORN is achieving what we expect it to do, which is to change traffic flow. The overall assessment was that those differences were not material enough to change the decision that we felt the proposal was acceptable.

Q109 Julie Hilling: Have other actions been taken to mitigate the adverse effects? It is bad enough for the athletes coming in that need a decent air quality, but what about people particularly living in the area, including children and others living near routes?

Justine Greening: As I say, I think we are hopefully talking about instances few and far between like that based on the expert advice we had. It illustrates some of the broader messaging we are putting out that London is absolutely open for business, but it is going to be busy and people should look at their own travel patterns and see if they can manage down disruption. All of those things will help to make sure we do not get those unnecessarily heavy degrees of congestion that lead to some of those issues. We have certainly looked at all of the proper evidence that we needed to in order to reach a positive conclusion on the ORN.

Hugh Sumner: I would just add to that. The overall conclusion of the independent study was that there would be a net positive benefit to London from the Games with respect to air quality, but there were a few minor cases where there is a marginal, very slight increase that we are going to be mitigating out with our colleagues from Transport for London using surface dressing on road surfaces and what they term SCR-selective catalytic reduction-devices for some of the bus routes. That will mean that in overall terms the whole thing will work nicely during Games time with regard to air quality. That whole programme is being led by TfL for us.

Q110 Julie Hilling: The Secretary of State made a comment about "business as usual". Has enough priority been given to business as usual transport needs throughout the Games?

Justine Greening: That is precisely where we have tried to strike the balance. We have to make sure we get the athletes to the events on time, which is why the ORN is so important to make sure the Olympics happen, but at the same time we have been really clear-cut that we need to work hard to keep the rest of the city in business. It is a fantastic opportunity for the city, so we wanted to make sure that we had that balanced message that, yes, it is going to be busy but London is open for business. What does all of that add up to? It probably adds up, very shortly, to going to Get Ahead of the Games and finding out whether your bit of London is particularly affected.

There will be many people who live in London who won’t be affected. If you live in Bromley and work in Croydon, you might not see much of a change. What we are encouraging people and businesses to do is to find out for themselves, have a look at what it might mean, decide whether they feel like they need to plan ahead and, if they do, to get that done now. We have had some good engagement, as Peter said, from many of the large employers. We in Government are trying to look at how we can play our role too. We are obviously a large employer, particularly in this area. We are now busily working to make sure we get that message out to some of the small and medium-sized companies as well. It has been a phenomenal effort, but I think a huge amount of progress has been made. We still obviously have more work to do.

Q111 Chair: Are you confident that enough has been done to look at the needs of the ordinary Londoner who is just going about their business and does not want to be involved in the Games? You said that it matters, but has enough been done on that?

Justine Greening: I think we will have done enough. As Peter said, we have already taken a lot of steps. We have worked out where we think the hotspots are going to be and particularly which communities are going to be affected. Where we have had to put in the ORN we have gone through a traffic regulation order process, both informally and then formally in order to make sure that we get that right. MPs can play a role as well. That is why I have had a number of briefing sessions here in Parliament so that we engaged MPs. It has been helpful to get some of their views on fine tweaking some of the plans around ORNs to make sure bus stops are where they ought to be. All of that will help.

As Peter was saying, now it is about ramping up the message to the next level. We have gone through the awareness process. Understandably, there was a long time when people were not really paying that much attention day-to-day to the fact that the Olympics was happening. We are through that now. People are now far more engaged and realise it is on the near horizon. Over the coming weeks now it is a good time for us to be saying to people, "It is about time to take a look at your journeys. If you can book your transport now, book it now and think ahead." That is really the process. We are in the process where we would have expected to be at this point in time, but there is more left to do in these final weeks when people are very likely to be looking at what they need to do themselves.

Q112 Chair: Mr Sumner, what else needs to be done in the area of looking at the needs of the ordinary Londoner?

Hugh Sumner: I think a huge amount has been done. There is not only advertising but there will be radio adverts and stuff in the papers. There will be daily traffic reports. There is a huge amount. The biggest thing that is likely to concentrate people’s mind is as the Torch wends its way towards London and, in particular, as it comes in for that final week in London and then goes through all the 33 boroughs. That will be the final thing when people realise, "Actually the Games are on; they will start on that Friday night." At that point people will make their final plans. That will really be the moment at which the nation goes, "Yes, it is happening and I am going to do something different on Monday morning."

Justine Greening: It is about information. We have given every single MP who is affected their own bespoke Olympics briefing pack. They know exactly what it means in their area. We have talked to them about any concerns they have had. As Peter Hendy said, wherever we have been able to sort them out, we have done that. We all have a role to play in helping people understand what it means. In my area, where we have the road race for two days early on in the Games, it is probably not a good time to move house during those two days. There are quite practical messages that hopefully we can give to people as well as community leaders. I would encourage all MPs who have a community affected and who have not already engaged with us to take the opportunity because there is a lot of good work that is being done that they can use.

Q113 Paul Maynard: One of the key aspects of providing more information is actually having the information to pass on in the first place. One criticism we have heard so far today is that LOCOG, I’m afraid, has rather got the blame for being slow in transmitting local area traffic plans. Do you have any comment on that, Mr George?

Richard George: Yes, I certainly do. It is an area of discussion that I have been having with all the London councils and all the boroughs since about this time last year. It is an inevitability that the LATMP comes very late in the programme. Many of the plans that we will be implementing we had in draft form this time last year and we were discussing them with officers this time last year. The real complexity is the finalisation of those plans. You have to bring together not just what it is you want to do exactly with the streets around the venues but how you want to organise, in conjunction with the borough, the parking in those streets, many of which are streets that have not had parking restrictions in the past, and each of the boroughs wants to do it slightly differently. You have to bring that together along with, as Justine said, mixing it with the Last Mile and making sure we understand how the Last Mile works with the parking and the traffic management. We have to bring that together with the security arrangements around the venues as well.

Many of those things necessarily come later than they would have liked and, frankly, later than I would have liked too, but there is an inevitability that that integration comes late in the day. Many of the venues themselves have not had venue teams in operation since last September. It was only in September that all of that local detail was being worked out of exactly how the venue was going to work. We know about some venues. Wembley is an existing venue. Even Wembley has significant change from its normal operation because of the security overlay that we do not have for a normal Wembley event. The Olympic Park is a completely new venue with completely new arrangements. The integration of all those things and the detail of it necessarily come late in the day.

Q114 Julie Hilling: Stemming out of the comments of the first panel of witnesses, Mr Bielby talked about a haulage business that would be going out of business after the Games. Have you had those sorts of conversations with the freight organisations and how productive have those been?

Richard George: We have conversations with everybody. The lead in most of the conversations with the Freight Transport Association has been TfL. They have the expertise, the resources and the street management to do that. Both LOCOG and ODA over several years have had discussions with all of the local groups and local individuals involved, so, yes, we speak to everybody.

Q115 Julie Hilling: This was particularly from the Wholesale Distributors.

Richard George: I have not personally spoken to the Wholesale Distributors, but we know that, with regard to all of these groups, at some time we have been talking to them through TfL and certainly the individual businesses around all of the venues we have ended up speaking to individually.

Justine Greening: Peter Hendy has particularly played the lead role on the freight and delivery aspect and how to have that bit of the plan in place. I know he has done a lot of workshops and been to a lot of conferences. He has worked in a bespoke fashion with companies in many cases. We are really keen to make sure that we get those deliveries to businesses that want them. A lot of good work has been done. I am sure that if the Committee needs additional details from Peter then he will be able to provide them.

Q116 Chair: Peter Hendy is certainly in charge overall of these things, but the Department is in charge of this type of transport. Maybe it is an aspect that could be looked at.

Justine Greening: We have worked with TfL hand in hand on all of this. A lot of good work has happened. Whether it is G4S who are going to be filling up our cash point machines or some of the food distributors like Sainsbury’s, for example, who have been at events that we have chaired, a lot of good work has happened. There is more to do but we have absolutely worked alongside TfL on this.

Q117 Kwasi Kwarteng: This should be just a simple figure. How much money has the Department handed over or spent with regard to the Olympic Games?

Justine Greening: Our overall contribution to the £9.3 billion package was originally set at 13% as a co-funder. We have had that capped downwards. We also have our contribution to LOCOG’s venue security programme, which has totted up to £8.3 million. The main contribution we have made as part of the planning has been £6.5 billion of transport infrastructure. Obviously I have had a lot of officials working on it, so I am sure we can put a figure on that, if that helps.

Q118 Chair: How much money altogether in the infrastructure and other things?

Justine Greening: It is going to be in the region of £6.5 billion.

Q119 Chair: That would be a total amount.

Justine Greening: If I take my £6.5 billion of capital investment and then add on-it might get up to £7 billion, but the lion’s share is the transport infrastructure. I am quite happy to give you an absolute total. We have not got to the end of the project. We have not delivered the Olympics yet. The overwhelming majority is the capital investment that we have done, but I am very happy to provide the Committee with the additional elements of more revenue-style spend that we have put into the programme. I think it is in the region of another £500 million when you take the work that we have done with DCMS and then some minor elements around venue security that we have had to add, which are around £8 million.

Q120 Kwasi Kwarteng: I would be very grateful to have the figure. I want to ask as a follow-up to that, what do you think the long-term benefits are? Clearly you have put the money into the Olympics. Can you talk about the benefits that you would hope would accrue to the Department of the infrastructure generally as a consequence of our commitment to the Games?

Justine Greening: I think we have been able to deliver more capacity on a number of lines and better capacity, because it is new and better quality. The other thing that we have been able to deliver is this better partnership working. That is going to be something that lasts well beyond the Olympics. The Transport Co-ordination Centre is something that will stay in place, so partnership working will matter.

The legacy that I also think we should work hard on is the passenger information aspect of this. TfL alongside us is looking at legacy tracking. We are making sure that we do the monitoring during the Olympics to understand what we think those legacy options are that we do not already have so that we can make sure we keep good working practices in place and they do not just happen for a few weeks over this summer.

Q121 Paul Maynard: Clearly there has been a great deal of investment in London in transport infrastructure, which I think we can all say will immensely improve the experiences of the average commuter for years to come, but many in the regions think that that has been at their expense. All the money has gone into London and they are still stuck with poor-quality carriages, dirty stations and a poor-quality service. Do you think post-Olympics will be the time to reassess the balance of infrastructure spending, to try and improve it for the regions?

Justine Greening: I met with a number of transport PTEs only this week and they quite reasonably raised that question with me. I hope the Committee knows-I have always been very clear-that I think making sure that we take a broad look at what the transport needs of our whole country are, alongside those of the capital, is massively important. We have the HLOS process coming up on the railways in the next few weeks. We have already announced some of the investments. The Northern Hub and the Trans-Pennine electrification show very clearly that part of rebalancing the economy means that we need to have the appropriate transport infrastructure all over the country as well as in the capital. That is what I am determined to deliver.

Q122 Chair: I want to go back to the question Mr Kwarteng asked you about the financial contribution of the Department. How involved was the Department in deciding where that money was invested and how it was to be spent?

Justine Greening: We have been very involved in it. Ultimately, we have had to put our money into the pot too. As a Department we have been very clear about where we felt the infrastructure investment was needed. We obviously worked very closely with LOCOG and the ODA about what their modelling showed in terms of the modes of travel where we could expect increased demands and where. That informed the work that we have been engaged in, not just in terms of infrastructure but also in terms of some of the demand management and the hotspots in getaheadofthegames.com. As ever, we have been very keen to make sure that our Department’s money has been spent in the most appropriate way.

Q123 Chair: Mr Sumner, could you tell us where you think the money has been spent most effectively, not just in terms of the Games but in terms of legacy and providing better facilities for the future?

Hugh Sumner: There are a number of different programmes that have been completed. Obviously there are the upgrades out east. There are three extensions. There is 50% more capacity on the Docklands Light Railway. There is the East London Line extension and the North London Line upgrade. There is the Great Eastern upgrade. There is a lot of work there. Stratford station has been rebuilt and there is King’s Cross. There is all the big infrastructure work there.

There is the wider programme of things such as the Access for All programme at stations across the nation to increase access and inclusion there. There are upgrades at Weymouth, for example. It has not just been east London that has benefited as a consequence of this investment going into the system. Indeed, it is probably unlikely that we would have had high-speed domestic rail services in this country as fast as we had were it not for the Games. That has accelerated the purchase of those high-speed trains from Kent, which are going to play a big part during the Games operation. That is a huge benefit for us.

Then there is the wider softer capital investment. For example, there are spectator journey planners and getting really good data on access and inclusion on every station across the UK that will be carried forward into the future. It is those softer investments that I think will lead us. Indeed, the issue of walking and cycling came up earlier today, and we have invested £25 million in upgrading walking and cycling routes at every competition venue across the UK. Every venue will have secure temporary cycle parking during Games time because some of the venues are temporary, but at the permanent ones we will leave permanent ones behind. It is those sorts of investments that will leave a different backdrop against which the nation will operate.

Q124 Chair: We have spoken about legacy and you have spoken about the facilities that will remain. Is there anything else in relation to the legacy of the Games on transport that you want to say before we conclude?

Justine Greening: I might pick out accessibility, which I think matters massively. We have seen a lot more of our London transport system made more accessible as part of the Olympics. Whether it is looking at that or whether it is looking at some of the ATOC passenger assist services that are now in place, again those will matter massively as we go forward in the coming years. We should not lose sight of how important they will be for the passengers who use them.

Chair: Thank you very much.


[1] See Ev 37

Prepared 21st September 2012