London's Games Lanes confuse motorists

Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:12am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Avril Ormsby

LONDON (Reuters) - London motorists were struggling to get to grips with the special Games Lanes reserved for Olympic athletes and dignitaries on their first day of operation on Wednesday.

They were still trying to figure out when and where they could drive on the 30 miles of lanes, designed to whisk 82,000 athletes, officials, VIPs, sponsors and media to venues on time.

One driver said he spent much of his journey from east London stuck in a bottle-neck while casting an eye at an empty lane which was not being used by any of the Olympic community.

"They've closed off the Games Lane, but nobody was using it," said Ross Keeling, a call-out engineer, whose normal 40-minute journey had become two hours.

"It was a pain the neck," he added. "We just have to sit and watch the empty lane."

Dubbed "Zil" lanes after Soviet roads reserved for black limousines carrying senior Communist party members, the specially designated lanes were introduced after athletes became stranded in traffic jams at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

They are resented by many Londoners who already have to endure narrow, log-jammed streets.

Alex Grebnev, 32, who works in a bank in central London, said he faced the tricky choice of driving in a Games Lane or a bus lane - both of which can carry a hefty fine.   Continued...

Traffic is backed up as a clear Olympic lane stretches out in the distance in London, July 25, 2012. Authorities went ahead with unpopular lane closures to keep the roads and hundreds of thousands of extra visitors moving and security has been beefed up to protect the Games. REUTERS/Larry Rubenstein