Boris Johnson on the London Underground earlier this year. Photo: LEON NEAL/AFP/GettyImages
Boris Johnson, London’s mayor, is not normally lost for words. But for once the most high-profile local British politician has fallen silent. Transport for London has confirmed it has stopped playing a pre-recorded message by Mr Johnson.
The recording was aimed at encouraging Londoners to replan their journeys to allow for a deluge of visitors expected during the Olympics. The message, which warned of “huge pressure on the transport network” was pulled on Tuesday, a move which coincided with reports that overzealous warnings by TfL had scared people off coming to central London and had damaged business.
The Javelin train (and Boris) (Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Journalists are a cynical bunch the world over it would seem, or at least Down Under. The Australian press pack have spotted what they claim is the Achilles heel in the much-maligned Olympic transport plan and one of their veteran sports reporters, who has just turned up in London to cover his third Olympic Games, felt obliged to inform the FT’s transport correspondent of the problem.
The issue is not apparently with one of the underground lines to the Olympic Park at Stratford, which have had their share of problems in the build-up to the opening ceremony later on Friday. Nah mate, it’s the flagship high-speed Javelin train, the newest, shiniest and quickest way to get to to Stratford. Running a shuttle service every six minutes during the Games from the gleaming spires of St Pancras station in north London this smooth, air conditioned seven minutes ride is a far cry from the hot, oppressive and not always very reliable trains on the Tube.
The editor of FT Weekend, Caroline Daniel, came across this handmade sign in a London cab earlier this week. It serves as a nice illustration of Hannah Kuchler’s story from today’s newspaper, from which: