The Prime Minister is right to say that Ministers going to the Olympics in an official capacity should go by public transport. As these games are spending so much money and energy lecturing all the rest of us not to use our cars in any circumstances, it would be hypocrisy if Ministers decided they could swan along in the unpopular Zil/BMW lanes with the Olympic officials who insisted on them as part of the deal.
As BMW are official sponsors and supplying the cars it would also look bad if UK Ministers had to exclusively use BMWs, who only make engines here, and not be able to showcase the many good complete vehicles that are manufactured in the UK.
If I had a ticket to go to the Olympic Park I would probably choose to go by tube as the most likely quickest way of getting there. That would, of course, depend on the tube working well that day, which is always a risk. It is the venues out of the centre that could have offered a car park option as well as a public transport option, to help those of us who do not live near a station, and cannot easily reach a line that runs to the venue.
Another advantage of Ministers going by tube is they could then find out what the service is like that the rest of us use on a regular basis. This week I needed to use the tube as I had a couple of journeys to make to meetings in Central London that were too far to walk in a sensible time. When trying to carry out the first one, on the Central Line, I was told that all lines save the Jubilee had a good service. When I got onto the westbound central line platform the service was badly disrupted by signal failure at Lancaster Gate. I took the eastbound and got back to Westminster via Bank, only to find from Monument that the District line westbound was also going slow owing to signal failure at Gloucester Road.
The next day I needed to get to St Katherine’s by the Tower. The District Line was scarcely functioning owing to another signal failure. The Mayor and Ministers should make acquaintance with this day to day reality of what could be a good way of getting around in a crowded city where the politicians and officials have spent the last ten years removing much of the road space from car drivers. Mass transit can work in a densely crowded city like London, but it needs to have good robust simple systems that either work or can be remedied quickly.