The process of Business Continuity enables organisations to plan for and identify appropriate responses to incidents or events which may prevent it from carrying out business.  Ensuring continuity of operations is critical for all organisations, whether in a manufacturing or service-based industry in order to maintain production and customer satisfaction.

For Eurostar, which runs the high-speed rail service between the UK and France and Belgium, proactively managing the potential risks to the service is paramount, even where the risk may be outside its immediate area of responsibility.  This reflects the company’s objectives of delivering a safe, reliable, punctual and value for money service to customers.

The concept of planning ahead is at the heart of a new campaign by the London 2012 Olympic Games organisers.  This aims to raise awareness of Olympic transport issues before the Games start on 27th July.  Speaking at the launch of Get Ahead of the Games, Mayor of London Boris Johnson has said the campaign was ‘key to the preparation and planning that will help everyone in London to profit from what promises to be a remarkable summer’.  (BBC, 30th January 2012)

Transport Secretary Justine Greening said London 2012 and Transport for London had been working with businesses to ensure they had contingency plans in place to cater for the expected congestion in London during the Games.

The London 2012 Games will involve 14,000 athletes, 7,000 technical officials, 20,000 media and 11 million spectators.  However, Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy said that London, which already sees 25m daily journeys, was well equipped to deal with the 3m more expected on the busiest day of the Games.  London’s public transport system has benefited from £6.5bn of improvements.

Assessing risk is important; having appropriate remedies agreed and in place in advance of a crisis is even more so.  Eurostar has set up a Business Continuity department which supports a structured and systematic process for identifying areas of risk, calculating the likelihood and affects of each, both short-term and long-term.  It also is responsible for implementing appropriate actions to avoid or manage the impacts.

The new London 2012 website’s day-by-day planner will show expected hotspots on London’s underground system.  A multi-media advertising campaign would communicate directly with the travelling public, offering tips, travel information and advice on how to reduce, reroute, retime or remodel their journeys to avoid the hotspots. Bright pink signs will be used to guide spectators during Games-time.

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