UK sameday delivery company CitySprint will be using rollerbladers and joggers in London this summer to bolster its services during the Olympics.
After completing tests and trials, the company has now unveiled its contingency plans for the Games, which runs from 27 July to 9 September.
CitySprint will increase its motorbike and bicycle fleet, and add a team of five rollerbladers and 20 joggers.
The company is also planning on adding assistants for couriers driving vans, to access some addresses affected by road closures and parking restrictions.
Customers will also be offered extended opening times at CitySprint service centres for collecting items.
Transport in London is expected to be considerably disrupted as the city priorities travel for Games participants across a designated 109-mile Olympic Route Network and Paralympic Route Network. The event organisers are expecting to sell 9.5m tickets to the Olympics and Paralympics, while within the Games themselves 204 countries are expected to participate in 26 sports.
CitySprint chief executive Patrick Gallagher said his company had spent months preparing for the Games, including a “substantial” investment in routing technology to test out different scenarios and transport methods.
Plans included speaking to distribution companies in Australia about their experiences at the Sydney Olympics.
Along with rollerbladers and joggers, CitySprint will provide a system of traffic updates to keep its delivery network flowing during the Olympics
Gallagher said he was confident everything had been done to minimise disruption, but told Post&Parcel that no guarantees could be given that there would not be some delays.
He said: “In the same day distribution market, the nature of our business is very fluid, which enables us to be extremely flexible but it also means that we cannot predict daily workloads with complete certainty, especially during an event like the Olympics. We have spent months planning in order to minimise disruption to deliveries and we are well positioned to respond to the challenge but this is a unique event and it would impossible to plan for every eventuality.”
During the Games, CitySprint will be getting live traffic updates from its GPS units – CityTrakkers – to allow the most efficient collection and delivery of items in London and other affected areas, and will also provide daily traffic email alerts to customers indicating potential problems.
A new CitySprint Olympic Intervention Team will help customers with estimated journey and delivery times, as well as answering any questions. A special email address – firstname.lastname@example.org – has been set up to handle email inquiries.
CitySprint is also encouraging customers to do their part to help improve the flow of deliveries by extending loading bay opening times, re-timing deliveries that require a van, and ensuring that deliveries that can go on a bike or by foot are booked as such.
Gallagher said it was “very hard to say” whether businesses in London would opt for sameday delivery companies geared up for rapid transport if other express providers were experiencing delays, but he said CitySprint was “well positioned” to respond to extra demand. However, he said priority would be placed on serving existing clients in the most effective way.
Most delivery companies are planning on applying special Olympics surcharges for deliveries during the Games. Gallagher said his company would apply surcharges for deliveries to Olympics venues to cover extra costs from handing items to the event’s exclusive delivery provider, UPS.
He said: “There will be additional costs for delivery to Olympic venues as all distribution companies will be delivering to the UPS centre at each event venue. UPS (as one of the Olympic sponsors) will then co-ordinate the deliveries within the venues and will charge an additional fee for final delivery of each item.”