Faster, Higher, Soggier? Rain threatens London Olympics, as do Heathrow lines
A double English whammy this morning. One of them I can surely relate to.
I'll get to the rain in a minute but first comes a note from Travelmole that folks have been charging the lineups at immigration at London's Heathrow airport.
Can you blame them? Last time I went through that hellhole airport's immigration lineup, it was something like an hour. Heck, you could fly from London to Barcelona in that amount of time. Or even get your bags after arriving at Pearson.
So I took great delight, in kind of a whoa, wouldn't you love to see that kind of way, when I read this morning that folks decided to take things into their own hands. According to a report on travelmole, extra police are going to be added at Heathrow "after passengers who had been held in long queues tried to push past immigration officers without having their passports checked."
Immigration officers also claimed they had been subjected to verbal and racist abuse from passengers and slow hand-clapping by those frustrated at the delays.
No, not slow hand-clapping! "Please, officer, make them stop!!!"
Okay, the racist abuse is definitely out of line. And so is verbal abuse.
The Immigration Services Union told the Daily Telegraph its members were seeing public disorder issues in queues at the airport, which have been up to half-a-mile long in recent days.
A half-mile long? No wonder folks get a little testy.
On the meteorological front, it seems the rain has been hammering England as a whole and London specifically for quite some time. Apparently an entire month's worth of rain fell on parts of the country on one day this month. And forecasts aren't so great for the next 30 days.
Which means London might not come off looking as good on worldwide TV as it had hoped. That would be a shame given all the money they've spent. More importantly, one hopes adverse weather doesn't affect the athletes who've spent so much time and energy and money to get to the Games.
LOS ANGELES TOPS CONGESTION CHART, BUT TORONTO IMPROVING?
TomTom, which makes GPS systems, has a strange study out. Its first quarterly Congestion Index looks at 26 major cities in North America and finds that L.A. - quelle surprise - has the worst congestion.
The report looks at travel time during non-congested periods (2:19 a.m. to 3:47 a.m. Tuesdays in the case of L.A.) and compares them with travel times in peak hours and comes up with a difference that's expressed as a percentage increase in travel time. That''s called the congestion level.
The study gives L.A. a congestion level mark of 33. Next worst in North America is Vancouver at 30, followed by Miami (26), Seattle (25), Tampa (25), San Francisco (25), Washington (24), Houston (23), Toronto (22) and Ottawa (22). Montreal was in12th spot with a 20 mark, while Calgary was 16th (17) and Edmonton 23rd (13).
Interestingly, New York was only 15th, with a congestion level of 17. I guess folks have just given up on driving in the Big Apple.
The report says, and I find this hard to believe, that Toronto's congestion is actually down a little, although it didn't provide figures. It said the average delay per hour in Toronto during peak driving times is 31 minutes, which sounds about right. That means the average driver with a half-hour daily commute is delayed 78 hours per year, they said.
Also, the report said Toronto gets more congestion on non-highways than on highways. Which I can believe, having suffered on Highway 27 last week for 40 minutes going from the 427 to Major McKenzie. Ugh.
The report also said during the work week, the best peak times to travel are Friday morning and Friday evening. I don't know; have they ever seen Highway 400 on a Friday?
They also said the WORST times to travel in Toronto are Tuesday morning and Thursday evening.