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Weymouth and Portland Olympic travel advice row
VISITORS to Weymouth and Portland during the Olympic Sailing events face travel confusion.
The thousands of people expected to arrive for the Games have been offered conflicting advice on how they should get to the area.
Rail bosses have recommended that spectators travelling to the area should go by car.
The company has already come under fire for not allowing bicycles on trains during the Olympic period.
It comes after months spent by Dorset County Council and the Olympic Delivery Authority warning people that roads will be congested and to consider public transport.
South West Trains has warned there could be an extra 80,000 passengers a day on its network during the Games.
Managing director of South West Trains Tim Shoveller said: “We’ll be running diesel because we can’t run electric because of the power supply problem so the park-and-ride is the primary way people are being advised to get to Weymouth for the sailing.”
The firm will provide extra services as it runs at up to 40 per cent extra capacity but the limited power supply on the line to Weymouth will affect services.
Weymouth has been subject to about £100m worth of widespread road changes including the Weymouth relief road.
Mr Shoveller added: “The Olympic events in Weymouth have been designed around the private car, not around public transport. We want people to plan ahead to make sure they avoid delays and disruption.
“But even with huge amounts of planning and preparation, we can’t create unlimited capacity.
“We also face power supply challenges that restrict the number and length of trains we can run to Weymouth.
“That’s why roads, rail, buses and airports have worked together to offer transport options for people attending the Games.”
It comes after hoteliers and traders told the Echo that radio adverts telling people the area will be congested has put visitors off.
Weymouth taxi driver Eddie Hawkins fears the ‘fiasco’ will destroy summer-time trade as people will be put off from coming to the area at all.
He said: “The council have been telling people not to come in their cars and now South West trains are telling them to drive as the trains will be busy.
“It is absolutely ludicrous. This advice really sums up the whole fiasco of the Olympics .
“My advice to people would be to just come to Weymouth and enjoy a holiday and the area.”
Angus Campbell , Dorset Olympic board chairman and leader of Dorset County Council, said: “To help minimise congestion on Dorset roads it is important to plan ahead and book a space at an Olympic park and ride.”
‘Don’t leave it to last minute’
A PUBLIC awareness campaign called Get Ahead of the Games is being run by the Olympic Delivery Authority to warn potential visitors of the need to make travel plans early.
Hugh Sumner, director of transport at the Olympic Delivery Authority said: “The road and public transport network in the local area will be exceptionally busy during the Games and so, to ensure that everyone can make the most of things this summer, it’s important that both residents and visitors are advised to plan their travel at the same time as they are making their hotel bookings, not leave it to the last minute.”
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