So how have delivery companies and couriers been coping with the huge problem that the Olympic crowds and traffic have made in the capital during this exciting time?
The massive crowds and increased public transport has meant that London has been inundated with an immense boost in traffic. Couriers still have to provide a service and get packages through somehow. Clients may appreciate their problems but still expect their items to be delivered on time. Some parts of the city are off limits to vehicles; some parts are closed on some days due to specific events such as the marathons and open again on others. This can produce a logistics nightmare for the courier.
The first task for all good delivery companies and couriers was to be prepared. The timetables for road closures and important high profile events were available well in advance, and courier companies were aware of it and had contingency plans. Most companies estimated an increase in delivery times of about 40% in van deliveries and about 20% for motorbike and bicycle deliveries, and made their customers aware of these. The Olympics is a once in a lifetime occurrence in London and some disruption has been inevitable. However businesses as well as delivery companies have taken this into account and many employees have been working from home to minimise disruption.
Bike Couriers Go For Gold
With the intensity of traffic in the capital and other hosting cities, motorbike and bicycle couriers have come into their own during this Olympics. They have been able to get around through the traffic and kept delays down to the lowest amount possible. Some delivery companies have also employed joggers to get the items through. Using a part time force of runners, who average between five to ten miles each per day, they have been using public transport as well as routes by foot to get through. Some delivery companies and couriers have been using a combination of methods to ensure deliveries and many delivery companies have added an Olympic surcharge to their deliveries, especially to certain venues.
Olympic Traffic for Delivery Companies
There have been road restrictions, parking restrictions, games lanes for VIP traffic only, road closures and lockdown venues with high security affecting the Olympic venues. These cover approximately 110 miles of road in central London. Traffic priorities have been altered in some cases, meaning that some right hand turns are no longer available. These will be in force for the whole of the Olympics and the Paralympics. The Olympics ends on August 12th, then the Paralympics begins on 29th August and ends on 9th September. This gives couriers a short breathing space, but the restrictions to road traffic will continue well into September. It is worth remembering that some other areas of the UK are also affected.
The main travel problems have been on the Underground, but roads have been as busy as was expected. No courier or delivery company can operate as normal under such circumstances. The keys to dealing with this disruption in the best way possible are preparation and communication. Couriers have made customers aware of the delays, and have planned ahead to deal with road closures and increased times. They are giving them feedback on the location of their items if they are delayed. In this way, courier companies are getting the parcels through.