The not-so-public Garden Bridge: no groups allowed
As if the Garden Bridge couldn’t get any more farcical, one of its stipulations is that it will be necessary to book in advance for groups of 8 people or more when visiting London’s biggest new tourist trap. This is designed to manage crowds and to discourage protest groups from accessing the bridge. In fact, it is guaranteed to create queuing problems and raise frustration levels to unprecedented heights.
How will the Garden Bridge Trust management team and their Operations Plan – still to be thrashed out – cope with an influx of coach parties or large groups if there is already a maximum capacity of 2,500 people on the bridge? The potential for overcrowding and long queues will be enormous.
And if the attraction is ticketed, what are the guarantees that the Garden Bridge Trust won’t charge a booking fee to allow for priority access? Joanna Lumley’s whimsical vision of taking a spontaneous stroll across the Thames, will be scuppered if you are accompanied by several people; unless you’ve got a smartphone handy to book in advance, you can forget about sticking together on this particular journey…
Actually come to think of it, there is nothing to stop groups from visiting the bridge in smaller numbers and reassembling further on; it will be impossible to monitor or to prevent. And let’s not forget the clusters of people on the ground waiting to get onto the bridge’s raised landing platform on the South Bank; it is only 410 square metres - for a potential 7 million visitors per year, this simply isn’t adequate.
The Garden Bridge Trust and TfL failed to consult the Metropolitan police during the consultation stages of the planning process; it is doubtful that there will be enough Garden Bridge staff to handle a major situation so crowd control, health and safety and security, remain very serious concerns. This poor attempt to mitigate disaster, is an impractical joke.