World Travel Market, the premier global event for the travel industry, is introducing free hotel coach transfers to and from the event for the first time this year.
The free hotel coach transfers are one of a number of initiatives World Travel Market is introducing – on its own, as well as in cooperation with Transport for London – to help mitigate the poor transport experience of many visitors at last year’s event.
The 2008 transport issues were caused by a number of separate incidents on the London Underground and Docklands Light Railway.
WTM is operating its free hotel coach transfer service from eight central London hotels throughout the four-day show.
The free hotel coach transfer service will operate to and from:
Quality Crown Hyde Park
Thistle City Barbican
Mercure City Bankside
Quality Crown Kensington
The free hotel coach transfer service is only available to people staying in the eight selected hotels.
In addition, WTM has also expanded its bus transfer operation from Canning Town Station to and from ExCeL to supplement the DLR.
For 2009, WTM is planning to run a fleet of London Bendy Buses from Canning Town Station, increasing the number of passengers by 65 people per bus.
In 2008, double-decker buses were in operation, the capacity of which are only 85 people compared to 150 people for the Bendy Buses.
WTM is also introducing a clearly sign-posted walking route from Canning Town Station to give visitors an alternative route to and from the event.
Following last year’s transport problems, WTM has worked closely with the local transport providers to improve services to and from ExCeL.
The Docklands Light Railway (DLR) has promised to increase the frequency of peak trains for the full four days of the show from last year’s 3.3 minutes. DLR will confirm the train frequency for WTM 2009 in August.
The re-opening of Tower Gateway Station for WTM 2009 will help to ease congestion at Canning Town Station, by allowing people to commence their DLR journey from an earlier station.
River Thames commuter boat operator Thames Clippers is also increasing the frequency of its catamarans from every 15 minutes in 2008 to every 10 minutes for this year’s event.
The catamarans pick delegates up from a number of piers along the Thames and drop them off at Canary Wharf where buses will take people to ExCeL – London.
World Travel Market exhibition director Craig Moyes said: “World Travel Market is committed to improving the travel experience of its participants following the problems that many experienced last year.
“For the first time, a hotel coach transfer service will be in operation from a number of key hotels to give delegates an alternative to traveling on public transport.
“For the same reason, the capacity of the bus shuttle service to and from Canning Town Station will be dramatically increased, while a clearly sign-posted walking route from Canning Town will also been introduced.
“At the same, we have been working hard to offer delegates an improved service on public transport for this year and beyond. With this in mind, we are delighted that both the DLR and Thames Clipper will be significantly increasing the frequency of their peak-time services. Furthermore, the re-opening of Tower Gateway will help to reduce congestion at Canning Town Station.”
Following last year’s transport problems, WTM wrote to a number of influential individuals and organizations to lobby for their support to avoid similar issues at future WTMs.
These influential people and organizations include:
– Barbara Follett, UK Minister for Tourism
– Boris Johnson, Major of London
– Baroness Anelay, President of WTM Advisory Council and Conservative Party Chief Whip
– Baroness Valentine, London First
– Stephen Hammond, Shadow Minister for Transport
– David Hornby, Visit London
– Kevin Murphy, CEO ExCeL – London
In addition, an operationally-focused working party meets regularly to assess the latest transport situation.
The working party is made up of the following stakeholders:
– World Travel Market
– ExCeL – London
– Transport for London
– Secro DLR
– London Underground
– Visit London
Moyes added: “WTM has done all it can to improve the transport experience of its delegates for this year’s event. From the moment the problems arose at WTM 2008, we were contacting influential people and organizations to solve the issues and to attempt to make sure they do not occur again.
“We have since set up a working party of stakeholders to closely monitor the local transport infrastructure. I am confident this will lead to an improved transport experience for delegates at this year’s event, while planned transport infrastructure improvements for 2009 and beyond will further reduce the chances of 2008’s problems being repeated.”