Examination of Witness

London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Amendment) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 17 May 2011.

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Garrett Emmerson gave evidence.

Q 6565

Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West

Good afternoon and welcome. This is our afternoon evidence session of the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Bill Committee. We have our first witness, Mr Garrett Emmerson. Would you kindly introduce yourself, explain what you do and then perhaps make an opening statement to the Committee?

Garrett Emmerson: Certainly. Thank you very much. Good afternoon. My name is Garrett Emmerson. I am the chief operating officer for London Streets, which is part of Transport for London and, as such, I have responsibility for the operational management of the road network in London as far as TfL is concerned.

I am here today to give evidence in support of various amendments, particularly relating to traffic regulation orders, which are contained in the Bill. We think that they are sensible amendments that will enable us to be more flexible in responding to real-life situations on the road network during games time, in terms of being able to make temporary traffic orders, to improve our ability to manage special events and to ensure that we can carry out effective enforcement, particularly of the games lanes on the Olympic route network during the games. That is our general position. I am sure you want to go into particular aspects.

Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West

Wonderful. Could you speak a little louder, so that they can pick up the notes? Colleagues, who would like to open things? Tessa Jowell.

Q 66

Photo of Tessa Jowell Tessa Jowell Shadow Minister (Olympics and London), Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)

Thank you. What problem do you think that we might face that has been given too little attention?

Garrett Emmerson: Generally, in regard of managing the road network.

Q 67

Photo of Tessa Jowell Tessa Jowell Shadow Minister (Olympics and London), Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)

May I add to that? One of the things that we did at one point discuss on the Olympic Board was the feasibility not only of modelling but of  some kind of trial run. For instance, getting everyone to the stadium for the opening ceremony: most will come not by road, but by rail and other means. But I think that after the millennium we are all aware of how fragile these well worked-out plans can be under pressure if they have not been stress tested. What confidence can you give us that it will be all right on the night, for the 16 days afterwards and the 11 days of the Paralympics?

Garrett Emmerson: The first thing to say is, inevitably, that the nature of the Olympic games and events going on will be unique in terms of anything we have dealt with in London, or are likely to deal with again in the future, so perhaps it is not possible to simulate completely in a live situation everything we know that we will have to deal with. Having said that, we have a lot of experience of managing events over a long period of time—the ones you have just mentioned and more recent ones, up to as recently as the royal wedding a couple of weeks ago, as well as more mundane ones, such as the TUC march last month, which was a very big event, the biggest for some years in London in terms of managing crowds and the traffic around.

All those things contribute to our knowledge and understanding of how we need to manage such events, as indeed do things like major changes on the road network. For instance, just after Christmas, the Mayor took the decision to remove the western extension of the congestion charging zone which, overnight, introduced a different set of traffic flows across the network. We were able to test out in a live situation the very same modelling work that we used to understand what is likely to happen to traffic at games time—it was being used there in a live situation.

We have a lot of experience of understanding all the component parts that make up the games and the things we will have to do. The biggest challenge will be repeating the level of attention and of activity daily. We deal with a lot of these events—they are fairly regular occurrences—but we do not deal with them for 30 days in a row. There is a serious question about capacity and ensuring that we have the capacity to manage over a long period when dealing with those events. That is something we are giving a lot of attention to, and making sure that we have sufficient resources and that the public understand that. It is one thing to get the message out around a particular day and a particular event, but to be able to repeat that and to maintain that interest over a relatively long period is a significant challenge.

Q 68

Photo of Tessa Jowell Tessa Jowell Shadow Minister (Olympics and London), Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)

May I follow that up by asking what net reduction in the normal traffic volume in London you are calculating for, on the basis that in August traffic drops anyway by between 15% and 20%? What percentage increase, back up again, are you assuming for the Olympics?

Garrett Emmerson: The targets that we are working toward vary on individual roads at individual times and on individual days. The key point to get over is that, although I can give you some general statistics around that, the biggest part of the challenge is dealing with particular pinch points at particular times on particular days. That is work that we are still working through to understand what we can do to reduce the pressure at particular times. In terms of a general perspective, we would expect something slightly less than you quoted.  Up to about a 10% reduction in traffic across the network is what we are allowing for, owing to the fact that it is the summer holidays, which is what we would normally experience.

On top of that, we are looking to achieve, through travel demand management measures, a further 20% across the whole of the network. But on particular locations that will be higher, and on other locations it will be lower.

Q 69

Garrett Emmerson: Reduction in terms of general usage of the road network. The final element of this is not really around—

Q 70

Garrett Emmerson: Overall, yes, compared to a normal non-holiday traffic day. To give you some idea of what that looks like, during the royal wedding on Friday 29 April, the traffic in and around London, outside the immediate vicinity of Westminster, was roughly 30% down on what it would normally be on a Friday. So that is the scale of change, but obviously you have the August holiday to give you a big start, and then it is a question of what more you need to do to achieve that.

Q 71

Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East

May I take it on from where you were going? Obviously, a key concern for many Londoners for this whole period of the Olympics and the Paralympics will be how they go about their day-to-day business. I accept your calculation of a 30% reduction for one day, which is a bank holiday. That is fair enough, but when people are trying to get to work and they are running their businesses, are you saying that you expect a 30% reduction in traffic for the whole of the 30 day-period?

Garrett Emmerson: That is what we are looking to achieve. Obviously, on different days, depending on what is going on, there will be different requirements. One of the key things that we have to get through, as we work through the detail with businesses and with communities on the days that we are particularly concerned about, is to ask how does that impact on commercial activity? How does that impact on people trying to get to work? How does that impact on general commuting? It will not necessarily be the same for everybody on every day. But in general, that is the scale of drop in background demand that we are looking to achieve.

Q 72

Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East

There will be a lot of people coming from outside London to visit the games. Many of them, despite all best efforts, will come by car. What arrangements are you making for appropriate park-and-ride schemes around the whole of London, not just in the immediate vicinity of the main games site?

Garrett Emmerson: That is predominantly a matter that the Olympic Delivery Authority has been dealing with today in terms of creating a ring of park-and-ride sites and measures for that.

Q 73

Garrett Emmerson: Our interest is very much, as you say, in understanding what level of traffic will be coming in to the city and how we manage it. That comes out of the work that the ODA has led and the modelling assumptions that it makes in terms of where the traffic  is coming from. That is getting more accurate by the day, as we start to get specific information built into those models in relation to ticket purchases and where people are coming from. There is a significant push to make sure that people have alternatives and do not need to come by car, but we recognise that some will, and we recognise that park-and-rides will be well used.

As we move nearer to games time, we will get increasingly accurate models that will enable us to look at the road network and understand how we have to manage it and identify where we have particular problems. That will in turn start to target some of the travel demand management work that we need to do with individuals, businesses, deliveries and the logistics organisations to make sure that we understand as much as we possibly can on every day and every different time of each day what the demands on the network are and what we can expect.

Q 74

Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East

The aim is for this to be a public transport type of games.

Garrett Emmerson: Yes.

Q 75

Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East

What impact assessment have you made on the level of usage of public transport over the extended period of the games? Clearly, we will then be in a position in which people are going to the games venues every day, but others will be travelling to and from work, potentially at the same periods of time. I know what the stress already is on the underground network and, indeed, on the bus network.

Garrett Emmerson: It is a similar story on public transport, the rail networks in particular, to that on the road. There are particular corridors and routes—the Jubilee line, the Central line and so on—that we know will experience very heavy demand in general. There will also particular pinch points around the network depending on the time of day, what events are going on and where people are likely to go. Again, it is a similar story of working through to understand, in as much detail as we can, where and when those are likely to occur and what we can do to limit their impact. As we move closer to the games, we will get increasingly detailed information. As I say, my particular role is to deal with the road element.

Q 76

Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East

My final issue is the enforcement of the various elements of the network. How are you going to ensure, for example, that the games lanes are kept clear, and what enforcement measures will be implemented as a result?

Garrett Emmerson: The first thing to say is that the programme that we are putting together is about compliance as well as enforcement. A lot of that is making sure that we have good information out there to start with, so that people understand the role and purpose of the Olympic route network, and of the games lanes, which of course will be only a part of those routes. People must understand when and where they are enforceable, so that we do not have non-compliance. To some extent, the real measure of the success of that element of the work will be whether we have to do large-scale enforcement in the first place.

Having said that, it is important that we have effective powers and regulations in place to be able to do enforcement, and the changes in the Bill will give us  that, because the original Bill was passed on the assumption that powers under the Traffic Management Act 2004 would come into force, which so far they have not. The enforcement will primarily be using our existing enforcement resources, through CCTV camera enforcement and so on, which at the moment we use day to day on parking regulations, yellow-box junctions and that sort of thing. It is an extension of our existing activities, so it is a known function, but one that will be of extended importance during the Olympic period.

Q 77

Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East

And you are content that the enforcement measures in the Bill are sufficient to give you the powers that you need?

Garrett Emmerson: Yes.

Q 78

Photo of Mike Freer Mike Freer Conservative, Finchley and Golders Green

This morning, Mr Emmerson, we heard from a witness from the ODA, who talked about the suspension of all streetworks in London on the Olympic route network, the alternative route network and the A and B roads in the boroughs. I have to say that that was very welcome. May I press you on a couple of points, about which you might have more detail?

First, when we say that streetworks will be suspended, does that mean not just that the works will be stopped, but that roads will be reinstated for the period of time of the Olympics? If works are going on, suspending them would still keep the blockages in place. We need reinstatement, so that there is a clear flow of traffic. Secondly, there will clearly be emergencies. If there is a burst water main, it will have to be dealt with. Is TfL insisting on lane-rental-type penalties or night-time working to ensure that emergency works are done as fast as possible?

Garrett Emmerson: Those are two very significant points.

The first thing to say is that you are absolutely correct: we are looking for reinstatement; we will not be looking for road works to be suspended with cones and nobody working, which would defeat the object of what we are trying to do. The project to deliver that, which is called ClearWay 2012, has been in existence for quite some time. To a large extent, it is a planning activity that started a number of years ago to ensure that all the major utility and, indeed, highway planned works that might affect the road network at the time of the games were phased either to occur and be finished before the Olympics or to wait until afterwards.

The key lengths of road network will be clear, and that has been in place for some time in the form of the Olympic route network and, latterly, the alternative Olympic route network. On those roads, that will come into force earlier than the period of the games, simply to allow us the space on the road network to construct the Olympic route network and the physical measures associated with it. That will be ongoing through the spring of next year, to be ready in time for the firing up of the ORN at the beginning of the games period. It has become increasingly obvious to us, however, that effectively managing the ORN—and the alternative ORN for days when it is being used for road events and so on—is an important part of what we have to do, but it is not the only part of what we do. There will be games-related journeys right across the city. If you take into account  all the non-competition venues, such as hotels and all the other venues, we are talking about more than 200 individual locations across the city for which games traffic will be moving about, on and off the ORN.

Clearly, we have two key priorities at games time. First, we must ensure that the Olympic Family—the athletes, officials and so on—can get about to where they need to be, when they need to be there, to enable the events to run smoothly. Secondly, we must make sure that London itself continues to run as smoothly as possible. We are as exercised about the second as we are about the first. Ensuring that we achieve both is what will make it a success.

One way we can do that is to ensure that as far as possible the major strategic roads across the city are free of roadworks and disruption. That is why we have taken the view that our starting point should be that we should not expect to see any planned roadworks on the A and B road network across the city. As we get nearer the time and as it becomes obvious that some roads are not likely to be of any significance for games-related traffic—either diverting as result of the ORN being in place or being used by the games families—we may be able to make some exceptions to that. Our starting point is very much that that is where we want to be. Although the utilities recognise that that will be a major impediment to programmes, they understand its significance and they have been working closely with us throughout the development period.

On the second point about emergencies, again, I think you are absolutely right. We certainly hope that there will not be too many emergencies, and the summer is not peak season for something like burst water mains anyway, but it is inevitable that somewhere, at some time, there will be some sort of emergency. We and the utilities need to be in a position to respond as quickly as possible. That is one of the key functions of the London Streets traffic control centre, which is the key facility that we use to manage the traffic network across London, from where we control the traffic signals and monitor all our CCTV cameras.

We need to ensure that when incidents occur we are able to see them and spot them as quickly as possible, and task resources—whether that is utilities or, in the case of things such as road collisions, the police and the emergency response services—to go and respond to them as quickly as possible and to clear them up as quickly as possible. In the case of utilities, we need to ensure that the physical road reinstatements are done, and we are in the process of talking to utilities to see if it is possible to use our own resources to come straight in behind them and do the road reinstatements, rather than waiting for utility contractors to do likewise. Again, there is a lot of very co-operative working there.

I think there is a general understanding that London will be on show, and the totality of what we do in managing the road network will be very much on show. We are determined to ensure that the games run as smoothly as possible as far as our involvement is concerned.

Q 79

Photo of Sharon Hodgson Sharon Hodgson Shadow Minister (Education)

I want to ask a few questions about public transport. I know you said that with regard to the roads there can be a reduction during August of up to 30%, because people are not at work, but is the same true for  the numbers on the tubes and the buses? My experience is often that the tubes can be busier, because we have tourists from all over the country—if not the world—here during a regular August anyway. I am interested in the normal reduction for August, if there is one, on the buses and the tubes. Can you go on to talk about your plans for the huge numbers of extra people who will be on the buses and tubes travelling to and from the Olympics? A further question is the effect on regular Londoners who are trying to get to and from work using the tube in the normal way.

Garrett Emmerson: As I say, my responsibility is predominantly for the road network rather than the public transport network. If I may correct you, I said that the reduction on the road network is in the order of up to 10% in the summer, rather than 30%. The reductions on public transport networks tend to be greater, but the key issue of course is not the total volume of road use or public transport use; it is peak traffic volumes. In the morning peak particularly, but also in the afternoon peak, those volumes are considerably down. Although we have significant influxes of visitors to London during that period, and there are very busy times, they do not necessarily coincide with the busy commuting hours.

It is a good analogy as to how the transport networks will look different during games time generally in that we will have very unusual patterns of movement across the network. There will be different flow regimes, because many people will want to get to the key Olympic venues in the centre or other parts of London, particularly the east where the main venues are. Those flows will be a lot higher and a lot different from what they usually are. The key challenge on both the road network and the public transport network will be understanding and managing those different flows.

Q 80

Photo of Sharon Hodgson Sharon Hodgson Shadow Minister (Education)

Although you are TfL, you do not cover public transport.

Garrett Emmerson: TfL does.

Q 81

Garrett Emmerson: I do indeed. I am responsible for the road management functions of TfL.

Q 82

Photo of Sharon Hodgson Sharon Hodgson Shadow Minister (Education)

So you cannot speak specifically.

Garrett Emmerson: I can speak about the generality, but I cannot claim to be an expert on the statistics.

Q 83

Photo of Sharon Hodgson Sharon Hodgson Shadow Minister (Education)

I do not think we are having anyone from public transport—a specialist.

Garrett Emmerson: I will attempt to answer your questions as best I can.

Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West

We will move on to Mary Macleod.

Q 84

Photo of Mary Macleod Mary Macleod Conservative, Brentford and Isleworth

Thank you, Chairman. Mr Emmerson, I want to ask you about the impact of the legislation on non-games-related traffic. As you said, it is important to make sure that London continues to run as smoothly as possible. Having a London constituency makes me focus on that part of it. Will you talk about whether you think the Bill covers and provides enough support for any challenges or emergencies that we may face?

Secondly, have we involved enough local people in understanding the impact on them? If I take as an example Chiswick where I am in west London, Chiswick high road is a nightmare during rush hours at the best of times, and with some of the alterations for the Olympics it will no doubt be even worse. A great solution would be to let the Piccadilly line stop at Turnham Green, because that would solve a lot of the problems, but as you are a specialist on roads, I want to make sure that we have done the background research to understand the impact by using enough local people. They are the ones on the ground who know how the system works on a daily basis.

Garrett Emmerson: The most obvious thing is the work that we are doing to develop the detailed design of the ORN, which is going out to public engagement and consultation throughout this year on the detailed design. There is a phased approach across the city, and we will contact all residents who live within 400 metres of those roads—that is upwards of 1 million letters through the year—to invite people directly to engagement sessions and consultation so that they understand what it is proposed will happen at games time, and have the opportunity to have an input before the plans are finalised and implemented on the ground. That is the major thing.

To make sure that that happens properly, the decision was taken a long time ago to use the full permanent traffic regulation order process, even though the measures will be in place only temporarily. We are going through the full process, which requires full consultation and engagement with people. But, as I said at the outset, it is inevitable that however well you plan, things will need to be done and changed at the last minute, for which an efficient process is required. That is what the Bill gives. That is the bit that was missing.

In relation to special events, the Bill gives more flexibility to take account of local views and needs. At the moment, the powers are limited to simple road closure for special events. The Bill will give you the ability to include less draconian things, such as enforcing waiting restrictions, right-turn bans and limiting different classes of vehicle. As we go forward and get nearer the games, local communities will inevitably want to hold events and so on. We must co-ordinate with those and ensure that we can, as far as possible, accommodate the needs of the public and minimise disruption to people who are travelling through events and Olympic events. The more we can do that, the better the experience will be for Londoners as a whole.

Q 85

Photo of Mary Macleod Mary Macleod Conservative, Brentford and Isleworth

Do you think that there is enough in the Bill to support all that you need to do for the Olympics?

Garrett Emmerson: I do, yes. It fills some important gaps that we have identified over the past few years, and it does that well.

Q 86

Photo of Mary Macleod Mary Macleod Conservative, Brentford and Isleworth

May I ask about the fines for the Olympic route if there is an extra lane for Olympic traffic? Can you give us some background on the thinking behind that? People are probably content about having a special lane, but some are worried about the levels of fines that might be levied on innocent residents or people who are travelling at that time.

Garrett Emmerson: I understand there has been a long debate about the level of fines, with significantly varying views, depending on who you ask, about what is appropriate. The decision about what the fine should be is with the Secretary of State for Transport.

The important thing, as I said, is to ensure that we get out and raise awareness and understanding about the Olympic lanes, and when and where they will be in force, so that there are not, as you say, innocent people who do not know what the measures are about. There must be a high level of awareness about the Olympic lanes. People must know the reasons why they are in operation at certain times and they must know the penalties for contravention. That is a key part of the overall enforcement strategy.

Q 87

Photo of Don Foster Don Foster Liberal Democrat, Bath

Thank you for what you have said, Mr Emmerson. You have described the Bill as very sensible and you have said that it has filled important gaps. Are there any gaps that we still have not filled? In particular, are you confident that we have sufficient powers, or that sufficient powers will be given to the right people, to deal with freight vehicles on our roads that are delivering to keep our city running smoothly?

Garrett Emmerson: You are succinctly alluding to the last element of the written evidence that we submitted.

Garrett Emmerson: The evidence was on exactly that point. We have identified a major concern about the ability of freight operators to service the business community at key times during the games. Obviously, with the creation of the ORN, the restrictions that it imposes, the wider limitations that there will be in central London around the mobility management area, and the sheer volume of activity right here in the heart of London, businesses will need to change how they service their businesses. A single-day event, such as the royal wedding, is a very different proposition from three weeks of a continuous event. For a single day, it is not a particularly huge challenge to say, “Well, actually, we can’t make a delivery on Friday; it will have to come on Thursday or Saturday.” But the sustained duration of this event creates a very different proposition for businesses.

We have done a lot of work already with larger businesses to ensure that they are aware of the implications of the event. There is a lot more work yet to do with smaller businesses around London. We are concerned that some—or potentially many—businesses may not respond to or understand the need to change their delivery patterns until a very late stage and that freight operators will not be able to respond in time.

Some freight operators have restrictions on their premises, such as environmental constraints that prevent them from operating at night and so on. At present, those can only be changed through a fairly long consultation-based process via the traffic commissioners. We suggested to the Department for Transport, and in our evidence to the Committee, that the Bill is an opportunity to change that situation to allow the traffic commissioners to shorten the process.

Q 88

Photo of Don Foster Don Foster Liberal Democrat, Bath

Mr Emmerson, that is very helpful, but may I inform you that the deadline for tabling amendments for Committee stage is fast approaching? Mr Amess, I think it is this evening.

Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West

It was yesterday, I am afraid to say, so there is no opportunity at all.

Q 89

Photo of Don Foster Don Foster Liberal Democrat, Bath

So it is more than fast approaching. But of course there are procedures that we could adopt. Is TfL in discussion with both the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Transport about how we resolve the problem—if we decide that we wish to resolve it—that you are describing, in terms of the legislative procedure that you would need to follow?

Garrett Emmerson: The short answer to that is yes. We wrote to the Department for Transport a while ago and, as I understand it, the Secretary of State is considering what the best course of action would be in that regard. We will work with the Department as closely as we can, whatever decision it takes.

Q 90

Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West

To follow on from Mr Foster’s point, there are some very special circumstances under which we might be able to select an amendment but we would have to do so very soon.

Photo of Don Foster Don Foster Liberal Democrat, Bath

Or indeed on Report, Mr Amess. That would be one possibility.

Garrett Emmerson: Our key concern is that we raise what we think is a very significant issue, which has the potential to disrupt the smooth operation of London around the time of the games.

Q 91

Photo of Don Foster Don Foster Liberal Democrat, Bath

May I just leave you with the thought that it is not for me to determine whether or not this is an issue that must be addressed or not? It is beyond my pay grade. Clearly, however, if everybody agrees that it should be raised, time is definitely not on our side. So can I urge you and your colleagues to work with both Departments to see if we can find a solution to it quickly?

Q 92

Photo of Jo Johnson Jo Johnson Conservative, Orpington

To follow on from points that have been raised just now, to what extent do you expect the Olympics to be a catalyst for a structural shift away from car usage in the capital, encouraging more sustained use of public transport? In other words, how can we use the Olympics as a means of changing behaviours in a sustainable way?

Garrett Emmerson: I certainly agree that it is an opportunity, particularly in terms of people travelling to the games and the fact that they will have, as part of their tickets, the opportunity to travel on the public transport network in particular. That is the potential of using the programme—the travel demand management programme—that sits around this, in terms of highlighting the fact that people have different travel options, using journey planners and things like that. In my experience, the best advert for people to try to travel differently or to make different travel choices is to get them to try it. The Olympic games is a huge opportunity to get people who do not normally use public transport modes to try them out. We will certainly be doing all we can to avail them of those benefits, but of course we have to provide an efficient, effective, reliable and high-quality service to enable them to have a good experience when they do that, or else those benefits are unlikely to be achieved.

Q 93

Photo of Jo Johnson Jo Johnson Conservative, Orpington

Are you anticipating a 100% bounce-back from the 30% decline in car usage that you are expecting in August next year? Do you expect car usage to go back to where it would be normally—100%—or do you expect there to be a gradual bounce-back?

Garrett Emmerson: It is difficult to say, because traffic volumes obviously vary through the time of the year. So we will not necessarily have an equivalent traffic level figure until the following August and inevitably over the course of 12 months other factors come into play, in terms of the volume of traffic movement out there. The degree of activity in the economy has a significant effect on volumes of traffic, so I would suggest that it will be difficult to tell exactly what the effect has been.

Q 94

Photo of John Cryer John Cryer Labour, Leyton and Wanstead

You might not be able to answer this question in detail, but on the issue of offering a variety of transport modes what sort of thought has been given to offering river transport? I know that we have the Woolwich ferry and there are various riverbus services, but will there be any increase in that type of transport?

Garrett Emmerson: Again, I do not have a detailed knowledge of that subject, but I am aware that the river services will be enhanced throughout the games and there are certainly a number of journey opportunities where the river makes a lot of sense. We will be looking to promote those, along with the other transport modes, wherever they are appropriate. So, yes, it is certainly an important part of what we do.

Q 95

Garrett Emmerson: Yes.

Q 96

Photo of John Cryer John Cryer Labour, Leyton and Wanstead

All right. I just want to make the point that if someone comes from, say, Kent or Sussex they will tend to go around the M25—if they are travelling by car, obviously—and then through east London, one way or another. If you are able to go to south London and then get on some sort of riverbus service, it will take the pressure off the roads in the east end an awful lot.

Garrett Emmerson: That is an important part of making sure that the travel information and travel choices that we give out to anybody buying tickets include all the options and different ways that they can travel. That is a key part of what we intend to do.

Photo of Hugh Robertson Hugh Robertson Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) (Sport and the Olympics)

It might be worth adding that for anybody travelling from Kent to Sussex, by far the most efficient way of doing it would be to drive to Ebbsfleet and then catch the return leg of the Javelin train that runs from King’s Cross through Stratford to Ebbsfleet, turns around and goes back again. That particular group are the last people who should be clogging up the roads in the east end, because they will have the Javelin train to use.

Photo of John Cryer John Cryer Labour, Leyton and Wanstead

Some of them will be, though.

Q 97

Photo of Mary Macleod Mary Macleod Conservative, Brentford and Isleworth

Mr Emmerson, are there any plans at the moment to extend the Mayor’s cycle scheme for the Olympics? Also, has any thought been put into how to make cycling safer across London during the Olympics?

Garrett Emmerson: Certainly, the Mayor’s cycle hire scheme will be an important part of the journey choices available, particularly in central London, and plans to expand it out towards the east of the city will be in place by the time of the games, so it will certainly play its part. In terms of safety, cycle safety is something that TfL and the Mayor have been particularly concerned about, and we have put a lot of effort into ensuring that we deliver improvements. That will not change through the Olympics; that work will continue, to ensure that not only cycling but the roads themselves, for all travel, are as safe as they can possibly be. I think that we have a pretty good track record in London as a whole of delivering improvements in safety over the past 10 years. There has been something like a 57% reduction in casualties. That work will continue, and cycling will be an important part of it.

Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West

Are there any other questions, colleagues? On behalf of the Committee, thank you very much indeed, Mr Emmerson, for the time that you have spent with us. It is useful to have your evidence when we start consideration in Committee on Thursday morning.