Thursday, July 26, 2012

Let The Chaos Commence!!

So, after years of waiting, the London 2012 Olympics finally get under way with the opening ceremony taking place tomorrow.
So much has been done to get things ready. From a totally brand new stadium at Stratford in East London, to a brand new pool (aquatics centre), a velodrome, a hockey centre and an athletes village.
Many other pre-existing venues around the country have also been made ready. It's been a massive operation which has taken place and many millions, in fact billions, of pounds have been spent.
During the last few weeks the streets around central London have been made ready to recieve the large volumes of traffic that will be shuttling contestants and officials to and from all the venues.

Official Olympic Car

To make it easier for all these official cars to get about they have introduced Games Lanes. So, they have used major roads and set aside the right lane for Olympic approved traffic. Everyone else has to squeeze into the remaining lanes. All right turns on Olympic Routes have been banned. Cameras have been placed at strategic points to catch offenders doing illegal turns. Taxis have not been included in the type of vehicles allowed to use these lanes (it's an instant £130 fine if caught using them). So if Usain Bolt gets in my cab at Heathrow and tells me he's late for his hundred meter dash and to step on it I'll have to inform him he's gonna be late coz London Taxis ain't important enough to be allowed to use the Olympic Lanes. Some trade organisations are in the process of demonstrating about it and maybe just maybe this stupid situation we find ourselves in will be resolved. Anyway, enough whinging, I'm hoping the games are going to give us plenty of work in what would otherwise be a quiet time. Bring 'em on!!

As I said the Olympic preparations have been going on for the last few weeks. Many roads have now been closed off for the duration of the games so you can imagine the stress of getting to a turn only to find you can't do it. Most people are aware that there's going to be problems but there's also a hell of a lot who don't and think they can jump in a cab and get where they want without any difficulty whatsoever.
I picked up 3 people today in The City and they asked for the junction of Kingsway and Aldwych. You can imagine my horror when I arrived at the junction of High Holborn and Kingsway only to find it was a banned turn. The detour added £5 to the total fare and they weren't best pleased.
I trapped another job in Buckingham Palace Road today all the way to Chiswick. I quoted her £20. As I started making my way I encountered The Torch Relay at Kings Road where literally thousands of people were lining the streets for a glimpse of possibly a celebrity doing his 400meter stint. I had to wait for it all to subside before I could get through and get on my way by which time there was £10 more on the meter than I'd quoted. She paid up without a word but I sensed disapproval.
For the next few hours I kept encountering the Torch Relay as it made it's way around town. I caught it again at Holland Park and again at Oxford Circus where a couple jumped in and asked for Paddington Station. We stewed in traffic for ages. They asked me if there was an alternative route, I just laughed. The flame is now in bed in it's Davey Lamp ready for the final push to the Olympic Park via The Embankment tomorrow. Who knows I may meet it again!

I never paid my cab last week as I had too much on so I am now chasing £410 to be paid by tomorrow.
I also have a few other things going out so I am well and truly under the cosh.
I hit a pothole recently in Cricklewood and the wheel instantly went down. I was just getting on to the M1 at the time so I had to pull over and fix it (thats Jane supervising!!)

Puncture on the M1

I never realised how unfit I was and was totally out of breath by the time I had us up and running again. My daughter Katie was taking the pictures and was no help at all. I took the cab to Jettyres the following Monday to have the spare replaced. I go to the branch at Hercules Road as they're superfast there and just replace the punctured wheel with one they have prepared earlier.

As I type this Team GB is playing Senegal at football in an Olympic match. I thought the opening ceremony would be the first action of the games but apparently not. There were games yesterday and earlier today as well. Anyway it's finished at 1-1 so a point to start our Olympic campaign is better than a kick up the arse!!

Check back soon.

Take care.