“My commute was actually a bit quicker,” said information technology manager Amit Katwa. “The Tube was on time. The volume of people on the trains was about the same as normal.”
If transport chiefs were relieved all had gone well, taxi drivers were ecstatic that the games were over and they once again could use special “games lanes” that had been reserved for athletes and officials. The lanes restrictions are to be lifted on Wednesday.
“It’s been brutal,” said Shafiq Arjaz, a 43-year-old cab driver.
Some business owners also expressed relief, complaining that sales had dropped during the games compared with the similar period in 2011, while others reported an increase in sales spurred by Olympic visitors.
On the whole, Mr. Johnson said, London had defied Olympic skeptics.
“If you were to say to me that we have just held the greatest games ever in Britain, I would say you are on the right track,” the mayor told reporters.
The BBC said more than 26.3 million people in the United Kingdom watched the closing ceremony Sunday night, compared with 26.9 million who watched the opener on July 27.
The Olympic Park, visited by more than 5 million people during the past 17 days, was eerily deserted Monday.
The main stadium was blocked off by metal barriers, concession stands closed, the world’s biggest McDonald’s empty. Small groups of construction workers scurried about in small vehicles, working to transform the venues for use in the Paralympics, which will run from Aug. 29 to Sept. 9.
The park will be closed to the public until then — and for almost a year afterward, while some venues will be torn down and others modified. It will open in stages from next summer as the 560-acre Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Games organizers say most of the venue’s structures will not change for the Paralympics, but they will get new signs — with the Paralympic emblem replacing the Olympic rings — as well as changes to the playing fields and seating and better accessibility for disabled athletes and spectators.
Park worker Francis Joseph said he missed the crowds that had thronged the venue over the past two weeks.
“For two weeks, we saw a lot of people — all of a sudden it just went off, like that,” he said, snapping his fingers.
The Olympics were hailed as a security success even though private contractor G4S failed to provide enough staff for the games. In the end, the military stepped in and provided some 3,500 personnel to make up for the shortfall.View Entire Story
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