The gents and ladies from the Olympic 5 Ring Circus have been kind enough to force our Government to pass laws to allow the 80,000 members of the Olympic ”family’ (any from Sicily, we wonder?) to have a network of Zil Lanes throughout London.
As Christian Wolmar put it:
London, though, is blessed with an excellent public transport system that could easily accommodate most of the ‘family’. However, as part of the Olympic bid, Coe and his mates declared that Stratford was only 25 minutes from the swanky hotels of Park Lane, forgetting to mention that the distance could be covered in this time only by breaking the speed limit and never stopping at a red light.
So guess, what? Not only will the ‘family’ have access to Zil lanes, but the even less equal among them, the elite in the 240 chauffeur-driven BMW limousines specially reserved for the ultra VIPs, will find their cars have been fitted, at a cost to the taxpayer of £12 million, with sensors that quite literally turn the lights from red to green.
Meanwhile, ordinary motorists and cyclists who mistakenly wander into a Zil lane will be spotted on CCTV and find themselves liable to a fixed penalty of £200.
At Thomas Cook’s Office’s our reporters met Pete Moore, Head of Olympic Trip Packages at Iluka – their partner company responsible for selling Olympic packages.
Moore describes a package available which contained tickets to the men’s 100m final.
“That evening they would have 100m final AA Category tickets…”You’re going to be able to wipe Usain Bolt’s brow with those”, he says.
Moore later sent over an outline of a six-night package that include tickets for the 100m final, some cycling and other sought after events. Thomas Cook’s price for this was nearly £20,000 per person including accommodation, food and transport. The package was for a group of 23 people with a grand total of £450,708.
Moore also described how our prospective wealthy clients could buy access to the lanes as part of a package
“We have accredited coaches which will travel on the Olympic route network and dedicated drop off and pick up points at the venues”, he says.
I have a suggestion.
Since they are our roads which are being so kindly cleared for the duration, and there has been no move to ban people on foot, we should simply treat the lot as pedestrianised for the 6 weeks or so when they are being cordoned off from hoi polloi on wheels.
There’s at least one fly in the ointment here – and that is that, like Russia, the Zil Lanes have a habit of being placed in the Centre of the road, not by the pavement.
But I think that some time during the Olympics I will feel an artistic inspiration to take a series of panoramic photographs from points in the carriageway which are normally denied to me, at perhaps 10 minutes a time.
The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA – read as Odour) has been cracking small nuts with a legal sledgehammer for some time now, which was delightfully returned with knobs on, so they perhaps deserve a few spanners in the works.
What could be sweeter or more appropriate?