Transport for London Spend Millions to Take Staff on Trips to Olympic Stadium

January 12, 2012

Transport for London are spending £2.5 million ($3.8m) to take all their staff on day-trips to the Olympic Park.

The 6-month staff training programme for 30,000 employees includes an hour long tour of the site in Stratford, followed by presentations from senior management and videos of athletes explaining what to expect in July.

The programme has run from October last year and is due to finish in March.  One Tfl insider described the move as a ‘propaganda exercise’ and said “it is a total waste of money.  For back office staff like me, there is no benefit whatsoever in going on a visit to the Olympic Park.  They’re trying to get us excited about the Games because they know we’re going to be overworked, it’s a joke.”

Tricia Riley, TfL’s HR Director, said: “This is a big year for London and TfL, with the Diamond Jubilee, 2012 Games and a huge programme of investment, while also improving the journeys of millions of customers every day. Every member of our staff will play an important role in achieving the significant and unique challenges ahead. These events give them all the opportunity to discuss what is required of them in 2012 to deliver the best possible service to our customers.”

The funding is being shared between Transport for London, which is spending £1m ($1.5m) and the Olympic Delivery Authority, which is putting forward the other £1.5m ($2.3m).  The cost of the programme per employee is £83.33.

An Olympic Delivery Authority spokesman said: “We are helping fund the Fit for London programme because of its importance in preparing transport staff for the huge logistical effort required this summer to get spectators to venues and keep London moving. Transport for London is briefing all 30,000 of its staff about the Games, their roles and the unique transport challenges the event raises.

“We have ear-marked up to £1.5m for this project but will obviously be keeping track of costs at every stage to ensure value-for-money. The overall £2.5m budget includes meeting the substantial costs of hiring a venue for a six month period, as well as additional essential expenditure including providing technical facilities like audio-video and lighting.”

Labour MP for Hammersmith Andy Slaughter said: “I dont want to be a party pooper and I’m sure London Underground Staff will find it interesting and enjoyable to go round the Olympic Park, but £2.5m?  Last month they closed Olympia Station on weekdays, this month they’ve closed the Hammersmith flyover – I’d rather they were putting their money into getting them open again.”