Memorial events for Queen Elizabeth II are bring more significant challenges for London’s transport network than the 2012 Summer Olympics, Transport for London (TfL) Commissioner Andy Byford said.
Quoted by the Evening Standard on Wednesday, Byford explained that as “Many millions” of people are set to converge on central London streets in the coming days, TfL is now using “every possible resource” to run services smoothly.
“I’m going to say it’s bigger than the Olympics – it’s the Olympics but with so many potential unknowns,”He said.
Preparations for the 2012 London Olympics are considered one of the most challenging tasks in the country’s history in terms of transport, logistics and security. According to an Oxford University study, the Games’ total costs exceeded budget by 76% and reached $15 billion in real terms.
By calling the memorial events “The biggest challenge TfL has faced is” Byford echoed recent remarks by Bob Broadhurst, the former head of public order at the Metropolitan police who was overseeing security at the Olympics. Broadhurst, quoted by the Guardian, explained that the fact that the “royal family wants to be seen and wants to be close to their public” makes preparations even more complicated.
With hundreds of thousands of people preparing to queue for up to 30 hours to see the late monarch’s coffin in Westminster Hall ahead of her funeral on Monday, the Cabinet Office has not ruled out that London could be pronounced “Complete” for the first time in its history, in which case travelers would be advised against visiting the capital.
A large scale security and logistical operation required that hundreds of heads and royals of state from across the globe attend the state funeral. They were asked not to bring private cars.
According to The Times, a special exception will be made for US President Joe Biden. He will be allowed to drive through London in an armored vehicle.
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