Re-Winding 02: London’s traffic is calling

[Der folgende Text erschien im Juli 2012]

We are convinced that most of our readers know the famous song Streets of London performed by Ralph McTell in 1969. Today, about 40 years later, London’s streets and its traffic are still at the top of people’s minds: residents, commuters and tourists always need to find more effective ways to travel this metropolis. Greater London is home to almost 8 million people and therefore by far the most populated city in Europe. A transportation system which copes with such a high number of travelers every day is not to be envied, and the traffic situation is becoming even more challenging this year. Of course we are talking about the Olympic Games 2012 which take place in London from 27 July till 12 August 2012. Over 10,000 athletes from 204 nations are expected to participate. Take this, add the extra amount of spectators and you will easily see what we are pointing at here – a tremendous traffic challenge ahead for the organizers and of course for London itself.

The situation today

Anyway, let’s not put the cart before the horse, and take a closer look at the current traffic situation in London instead. Saying this, we don’t want to bore you with remarks about the famous red double-deckers. Instead we like to focus on some of the less known ways of daily business travel in the British capital since taking a close look at all the different means of transportation can provide a better understanding of business mobility.

Ship ahoy!

The River Thames definitely rings a bell, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t it be clever to use it as a method of transport as it conveniently flows through central London? The Thames Clippers – twelve luxury high speed catamarans – were established in 1999. They take commuters from London Bridge to Canary Wharf in less than 10 minutes[1] – which is extremely useful for those who work in this major business district. You don’t feel like taking the bridge across the Thames today? No problem – just hop on Woolwich Ferry which ships you across the river every five to ten minutes. It can be used by both foot passengers and vehicles to save time on their way to work. The ferry carries more than one million vehicles and 2,5 million passengers each year.[2]

The Landlubbers’ share

Enough water cruising for now – let’s go ashore! Public bicycles sharing schemes become more and more popular in larger cities around the world. London is no exception here. Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London introduced Barclays Cycle Hire, a.k.a. “Boris Bikes”, in 2010. In the first ten weeks of operation over 90,000 users and one million bicycle rides were registered. Getting into London by car often results in frustration and worry lines on the faces of stressed jobholders. Sometimes it takes two to three hours to arrive at a designated address. That’s why the “Transport for London” website recommends cutting down on car use whenever possible. The website further explains: “Initiatives like car sharing, car clubs and low emission vehicles not only help you to reduce your fuel bill but also save on charges such as parking, the Congestion Charge and other associated running costs.[3] Altogether London, like any other capital, has to deal with many different kinds of traffic. We are very excited to see if and how London’s business travelers will be affected by the upcoming super event.


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