Green and Liberal Democrat members of the London Assembly have welcomed a call by Mayor of London Boris Johnson for members of the International Olympic Committee to use public transport during the 2012 Games.
Assembly Members Jenny Jones (Green) and Dee Doocey (Liberal Democrat) have both previously called on the Mayor to ensure Olympic chiefs use the capital’s transport network wherever possible.
City Hall says IOC President Jacques Rogge has now told the Mayor his organisation “would encourage members of the Games Family” to do so. However the Mayor and transport chiefs are pushing ahead with plans for an “Olympic Route Network” which will allow athletes and officials “to travel quickly to their venues in 2012”.
Assembly Members, including Labour’s Murad Qureshi, have previously expressed fears that the network will see lanes closed to Londoners who could then be fined for using lanes and routes designated for Olympic use only.
In a statement issued on Wednesday the Mayor said it was “essential to ensure athletes and officials can travel quickly to their venues with their equipment during the Games. Their arrival in plenty of time and in peak condition is my main priority and our Olympic Route Network will meet those special travel needs.”
However Mr Johnson said he was “extremely grateful for the IOC’s commitment to encourage all members of the Games Family to travel on London’s excellent and rapidly expanding transport system wherever possible”.
In July Doocey expressed concern that “the huge number of people who are entitled to use the Olympic Route Network include many people who are not directly involved in running the Games, such as a large number of ‘Olympic family’ members whose only need to get to the Games is to enjoy the show” and called on the Mayor to “take this issue up with the International Olympic Committee and remind them that they should lead by example and use public transport.”
Speaking today Ms Jones commented: “I’m delighted the Mayor agrees with me on this. Adding thousands of Games vehicles to our already congested roads is not sensible. Why shouldn’t games officials travel by London’s excellent public transport, just like the rest of us?”