Opinion

Olympics: Thanks for the business losses, TFL

3 min read

23 July 2012

We have to stop moaning about the Olympics, says Boris Johnson, who is making one final attempt to make people forget about airport chaos, security incompetence and gridlock on the roads of the capital.

I’ve always been a big supporter of Boris Johnson. I publicly backed him in both elections and think he has done a good job as mayor. I understand he’s the flag waver for the London and in turn for the Games, and he has to do all he can to put on a brave face. 

But he too has been caught up in the pageantry and wants anyone with a negative thought about London 2012 to bathe in the pool of Olympic excitement and come out waving an IOC-approved 2012-branded Union Jack, supping on a drink manufactured by an official sponsor.

You won’t find a more proud Londoner than me. Of course I want the city to be seen in a positive light around the world. I also want Team GB to pick up more gold than a Hatton Garden jeweller. However, I also have a business to run and it looks like all my predictions are coming true when it comes to the London’s transport infrastructure.

The severe disruptions when the first Olympic ‘Zil’ lane opened on the M4 last week was just the start.

Come Wednesday, when the full draconian force of the ‘Zil’ lanes comes into play, London is going to grind to a complete halt. People won’t be hours late – their delay will be measured in days!

Our customers are being quite cautious about whether we’ll be able to get to them for scheduled work, let alone emergency call outs, so we’ll have to make sure there’s more travel time between jobs, which will hit our productivity.

And we’re not the only ones. In fact, we’ve already had calls from suppliers who have admitted they cannot guarantee any sort of regular deliveries. It’s not just the products we use; it’s also the skip collections, recycling and general and specialist rubbish collections.

Come the weekend, it will be 1970s London all over again – just without the strikes.

I’ve told my guys to use the VIP lanes for their ‘Very Important Plumbing’ vehicles in case of emergency, rather than let customers’ property be seriously damaged. But even less serious stuff will force us to take the lead from plumbing legend ‘Super Mario’, and, with tool bags in hand, resort to hopping from car roof to car roof to get across what will truly become the London Congested Zone (LCZ).

Nice work, TfL and LOCOG; I hope they’ve managed to wrestle some of the advertising cash from the IOC, since I’ve already spoken to my legal team at Mishcon de Reya, about suing them both over lost earnings, and I don’t think I’ll be the only one.

Charlie Mullins is the CEO and founder of Pimlico Plumbers.

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