London life consists of 23 million journeys a day. This warm, character-driven series introduces us to those whose job it is to keep the city moving. We cut between the all-seeing eye of the control room and seemingly incompatible transport sub-cultures GÇô from cabbies who resent the ever increasing number of cyclists, to hard-working surface repair teams who face nightly abuse from drivers stuck in rush-hour gridlock. Seeing the city through the eyes of those responsible for vital maintenance and traffic regulation is a revelation. That this overcrowded cityGÇÖs roads work as well as they do is more than impressive, itGÇÖs an everyday miracle! 1. GRIDLOCK London is a city constantly on the verge of gridlock. At the Blackwall Tunnel, the most crucial mile of road in the whole city, tow truck driver Sean has to deal with a pregnant motorist who can't face driving through the tunnel. Meanwhile in the central Control room, operator Chris has to cope with multiple accidents blocking the roads on a single Friday night. And then, out of the blue one rush hour morning, a helicopter crashes into a crane near a busy interchange. Can the Roads team stop the city grinding to a halt? 2. NIGHT BUS As London has become a 24-hour city since 2000, the number of passenger numbers travelling at night has tripled. Duane Williams, a nightbus driver from Brixton bus garage, likes the ladies but some of his passengers are just too loud for him. Driver Tommy McKerr faces trouble on the notorious N25 route when a gang of young men storm his bus without paying. And Jeff, a homeless person, shows us how he has perfected the art of riding the longest nightbus route in London all night to keep warm. 3. ON THE BUSES More people now travel on London buses each day than on the rest of the UK's buses combined. Behind every driver is a controller who tracks drivers' whereabouts and tells them to hurry up and slow down. The controllers themselves must hit strict targets if the service is to stay on track. The answer to all this pressure may lie in Transport for London's big new idea: to bring back the Routemaster, with conductors. We see the new 21st century Routemaster being built in the factory in Northern Ireland, and follow it as it hits the streets of London. Will it make bus travel fun again? 4. GATEWAY TO LONDON In the last decade, Victoria Coach Station has been transformed. London's only coach station has, in effect, become a new border for thousands of migrants coming to Britain from Eastern Europe. Customer service assistant Hayley has worked out her own special technique for charming the coach drivers. Jack speaks Polish, which helps when he has to deal with hundreds of Poles departing and arriving every day. And Sergeant Shaun Doyle copes with everything from a missing teenager to illegal immigrants and stowaways. 5. THE FUTURE A million more people than anticipated have settled in London in the last decade. Now Transport for London predicts that there will be a further two million people GÇô the equivalent to two Birminghams GÇô by 2030. With the roads already at capacity, how will they cope? And what is the congestion doing to commuter behaviour? We follow Michele Dix, TfLGÇÖs head of planning, as she sets about trying to get people out of cars and on to bikes and buses. To try to keep the roads moving, CCTV cameras crack down on rulebreakers. We also discover the secret supercomputer that controls many of the cityGÇÖs traffic lights. Will Transport for London be able to change LondonerGÇÖs behaviour and keep the roads running smoothly? 6. FIGHTING CRIME There were more than 20,000 crimes reported on LondonGÇÖs buses last year. To try to cut crime across the network, Transport for London now funds a special unit within the Metropolitan Police GÇô the 1,800 officers of the Safer Transport Command. The most useful weapon in their arsenal is CCTV. There are now more than sixty cameras on every London bus. WeGÇÖll see what they see GÇô from pick-pocketing to a shocking incident in which a young man seems to have been kicked through the top deck window of a moving bus. And then thereGÇÖs fare evasion which totaled -ú19.4 million in unpaid bus fares last year.
The Route Masters: Running London's Roads