With the Olympic Games almost upon us, it’s time to embrace the positive change the Games will bring. Does the promise of a buzzing London outweigh any niggles you might have about the Olympics?
As I’ve been a little critical of the Olympics ticketing process I’m taking a moment to reflect on the good, as well as the bad, when it comes to our Olympic summer. The Games are nearly here and I’m finally getting into the spirit. So are the downsides really all that bad?
For example, The Greater London Authority’s Band D council tax includes a £20 charge to contribute towards the Games. I don’t mind paying it. It’s not the increased tourism and media coverage of our country that I’m most pleased about (we have Diamond Jubilee excitement for that), but rather the infrastructure improvement it will leave behind.
Yes, the tube upgrades every weekend have been irritating, but if it leaves a better network in its wake, it’ll have been worth it. And huge swathes of east London have received a much-needed renaissance.
London rejuvenated or commuter chaos?
I can even live with the inevitable challenging commutes while the Games are on. Living in north-west London, I’ll have the joy of negotiating the crowds in Wembley and Baker Street, but I’ll cope. That said though, if the priority traffic lanes for visiting dignitaries start holding up the emergency services and cause traffic gridlock, the public mood, and mine, are likely to shift quickly.
So what about the other downsides? Increased hotel costs have hit the headlines, with prices at some chains rocketing. We’ve also seen costly Olympic merchandise go on sale – although some might feel this is a welcome boost to the British economy.
If you live in Stratford, you’ll be preparing yourself for higher prices at local shops, packed out public transport, and restaurants and pubs rammed full of tourists. Maybe you’ll enjoy the buzz?
Increased parcel costs
Well, none of the downsides really bother me – the upside of London hosting the Games easily outweighs them. But there is one small thing that I’m still challenged by – the increased cost of sending a parcel during the Games.
Parcelforce Worldwide, Royal Mail’s courier business, will apply a £1 charge to the cost of deliveries to postcodes beginning E, EC, N, NW, SE, SW, W and WC in a bid to recoup extra logistical costs. Sounds like a company cashing in to me, with the move affecting even those who have no interest in the Olympics and who live nowhere near the games venues. It’s only a pound, but it’s the principle.
So what are your biggest gripes with the Olympics? Or are you, like me, looking forward to the Games, even if they bring a bit of cost and inconvenience with them?