The bungling at Docklands mirrors the failure of British transport policy.
By Roger Eglin
When the French began the development of the giant La Defence complex in Paris, the need for good transport infrastructure was given priority. It needed no great planning brain to appreciate the implications of building a large office block without making provision for commuting workers. When La Defence was completed, so were the high speed metro links and it was a pleasure to travel to and from it. As the Canadian company, Olympia and York, began the development of Canary Wharf in London's Docklands, this same thought was uppermost. One important transport link was already reasonably well advanced in the shape of the Docklands light railway (DLR). But it only needed a brief inspection to appreciate how inadequate the DLR was. It was built cheaply on the cautious assumption that something like 20,000 people a 38 day would use it. Olympia and York realised it would not be able to cope and suggested delaying the line's completion until it could be upgraded. The answer was that this was impossible: the date for the official opening by the Queen had already been set.