Fears of Olympic travel chaos after London Jubilee problems
Trouble on the Tube and trains as security firms and the BBC also feel the heat
LONDON'S transport network is under renewed scrutiny after problems on the Tubes and trains marred the Queen's jubilee celebrations for many and raised fresh concerns about its ability to cope during the Olympics.
The whole event was seen as a dress rehearsal for London 2012 - and Transport for London (TfL) wasn't the only organisation which fluffed its lines, according to the critics.
There was major disruption on three Tube lines on Sunday evening as thousands of people headed home from events in London, while earlier in the weekend there were reports of people missing the celebrations altogether because of transport problems.
"Last night's disruption raised fresh fears over whether the Tube will be able to cope with the Olympics," the London Evening Standard reported.
"With just 50 days to go to the start of the Olympics we need far clearer assurances from the Mayor and Transport for London that the Games will not be disrupted by this type of repeated Tube chaos," Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Lib Dems in London, told the paper.
The Metro reported that people had been left in tears because of problems with rail services. "Some revellers are thought to have missed the celebrations because of trains that were delayed or full," it said. "Many more were stuck afterwards because of a lack of trains – with rail operator First Capital Connect blaming the problem on passengers 'standing in the wrong place'."
The paper added that police had been forced to close several Tube stations because of overcrowding during the weekend.
London business blog, London Loves Business, commented: "This bank holiday weekend, TfL did little to assuage our doubts about its weak spots."
It also claimed that "TfL's stock plan for dealing with all the extra people during London 2012 is that it hopes people will simply walk, rather than use public transport".
However, Mayor Boris Johnson declared himself pleased with the performance of TfL on a weekend when traveller numbers on public transport were 50 per cent up on a usual Saturday.
But transport companies weren't the only ones to come in for criticism. The BBC was panned for what the Daily Mail called its "humiliatingly botched" TV coverage of the Diamond Jubilee and the "clueless wittering" of its presenters, who were accused of "dumbing down" the celebrations. The corporation was also attacked for reporting the "sneering of the few dozen anti-monarchist protesters" over the weekend.
Some critics voiced concerns that the BBC's Olympic coverage would be below par as well.
There were also problems for companies hoping to provide stewards for the Olympics. One company was accused of taking advantage of cheap labour and forcing workers, who looked after the jubilee crowds, to sleep in the open.
One organisation that was happy was the Met. There were just 19 arrests over the four days of celebrations and the police thanked visitors for their "remarkable" patience.
Mayor Johnson hinted that he was aware of the challenges ahead and said: "The jubilee was an important test but we're not under any illusions that we've got an even bigger test to come." ·