|Home of bus, tram, ferry and lorry photographs|
|Home | Buses | Ferries | Lorries | Trams | Coaches | Trains | Transport | | Covers | Search ||
Buses at the 2012 London Olympics
LOCOG, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympics Games, were responsible for overseeing the planning and organisation of the Olympic Games held in London 2012. This responsibility included transport, particularly buses which were provided for public and athletes alike at all the venues, not only at the Olympic Park in Stratford but also the rest of London and throughout the country. Two major operators were engaged to coordinate this exercise - First was responsible for bus transport available to the general public and Stagecoach for athletes and officials. LOCOG also hired other operators directly such as Ulsterbus. As with the Games themselves, everything was immaculately organised, with perhaps too many rather than too few vehicles in attendance. It was a once in a lifetime event that required once in a lifetime organisation.
Two transport hubs were established to serve buses and coaches for the Olympics in London. The main site was at Eton Manor near the Stratford shopping centre and was adjacent to the Media Centre hub. It was therefore extremely busy with hundreds of vehicle movements per hour. This hub was dedicated to games shuttle vehicles carrying athletes, staff and journalists between hotels and venues. Stagecoach was selected to provide these services and chose to hire vehicles from many other operators, such as (clockwise) Brighton, Arriva, Albellio, Thamesdown, Wilts & Dorset, National Express West Midlands and Ulsterbus. They all carried small stickers with cryptic destinations such as "MM1 - MH1" or "AOV - OLV", and they all had operator identities and adverts removed.
Stagecoach UK Bus Events provided hundreds of new or almost new vehicles for the shuttle services. These came from far flung parts of the empire as did the drivers, and included buses from (clockwise) Worthing, Exeter (Park & Ride), Peterborough and Warwick (Unibus). They were garaged at the new West Ham depot in London, and the drivers were accommodated on two cruise ships.
The prime transport contractor for the Olympics was First Games Transport. They supplied or organised most of the public services to and from the events, including the sailing at Weymouth, the rowing at Eton Dorney and the football matches in cites throughout the UK. In London they operated shuttles between the venues (top left at Greenway hub; lower left at Excel centre), a service to the O2, renamed North Greenwich Arena to save sponsor conflict (top right), served the Greenway hub (lower middle) and found themselves interloping in amongst red buses in Canning Town. First used a mix of new and reconditioned vehicles mainly Wright bodied Volvos.
The other major transport hub was at Greenway, near West Ham station. This site was the principal coach station and also hosted the park and ride shuttles from the M25 at Thurrock (lower left) and Hertfordshire Show Ground (lower right). Most vehicles (apart from the park and ride ones) were immaculate provided by high profile operators such as Redwing (centre) and Kings Ferry (upper right). They were used for carrying officials, police (middle left) and sponsors (middle right) amongst others. Both the Eton Manor and the Eastway hubs were connected to the Olympic Park by large walkways where strict security was enforced. Outside the venues everyone was very friendly and helpful ensuring that the public and bus enthusiasts had an enjoyable day.
First Group Travel organised all public travel by bus to Olympic venues. They ran scheduled coach services to the Olympic Park from towns throughout the South of England (Salisbury, top right) operating at highly unsociable hours to accommodate the early starts and late finishes. Additionally services were operated to Weymouth from Salisbury and Bristol. As expected, contractors provided the vehicles. National Express also ran a network of services from the whole of the UK to the Olympic Park, such as the one seen in Reading that originated from Cardiff (top left).
Before the competition began, all the athletes and officials arrived at Heathrow Airport. Stagecoach organised services from there to the Olympic Village. Some of these buses famously got lost in London on the first day. Two routes were operated from T1/T2/T3 and T4/T5 running at 30 minute intervals, regardless of whether there were any passengers. Much of the service was run by Ulsterbus (middle left), with more cryptic destination displays (middle) and all panels taped over with LOCOG stickers (middle right).
While vehicles were on Olympics duties, Stagecoach shuffled its fleet to cover the gaps. The South Coast fleet in particular received a large number of buses from other operators (lower left) and resurrected delicensed vehicles (lower right). There were even shuffles to cover shuffles (Scottish vehicles covering in Newcastle for example). Stagecoach also had several Ulsterbus coaches on hire for duties on Megabusplus.
|xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx||All photos taken in July and August 2012. Click to enlarge photos and play clips.|
Like the above ?
Then these may be of interest ..
Photo-Transport has been publishing themed articles about Public Transport for over 10 years.
If you enjoyed the above article you may be interested in these articles which were first published in December 2002 and April 2009.
Virgin Rail Replacement
West Coast Main Line rail replacement
Cheltenham Gold Cup
Park & Ride services
|xxxxxxxxxxxxxxixxxx||FAQ | Contact | References|
|xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx||Copyright 2001-2010, Ray Ward|