The transport system didn’t collapse, there weren’t queues out of every Jubilee and Central line station, but the tube has officially carried more people than ever before.
On Friday, the start of athletics in the Olympic stadium, the tube carried 4.4m passengers – a record which, taking after Team GB’s cyclists, was breaking a record that had already been broken on Wednesday (4.25m) and Thursday (4.31m). For all the fretting about ghost towns, London’s heart has actually just moved out of the centre and towards Stratford, Docklands, Earls Court and Windsor.
(Mind you, we witnessed first hand how the vast majority of dressage spectators left one session at Greenwich Park and swept through the town behind the barriers. One excellent ice cream shop had to go out with free brownie bits to tempt people in. So much for the local economic boost. It’s kind of baffling: why wouldn’t you hang out in beautiful Greenwich for a bit, instead of trying to get on a train with 23,000 other people?)
DLR passenger numbers were also up 70% on normal levels on Friday, the Overground carried 27% more people than usual over the week and there were nearly 47,000 cycle hire journeys on 26 July.
The BBC also has figures on how many people have been out to see the free events. Half a million people saw the cycling road races over two days, 200,000 cheered on the cycling time trial and 60,000 watched the women’s triathlon. There’s no word yet on how many stood in the rain in solidarity with the women’s marathon runners yesterday. If you fancy a piece of the free action, the men’s marathon is Sunday, the men’s 50km walk and women’s 20km walk are Saturday and the men’s triathlon is tomorrow.