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Set up in April 1999 to formulate contingency arrangements for potential millennium bug failures the role of the Millennium Event Contingency Arrangements (MECA) project team was expanded to cover the strategic management of 42 hours of continuous service to support the celebrations planned for London. Discussions had been taking place for some time with the London event organisers. The river event was predicted to attract up to 5 million people of whom 25 million were expected to be in central London at midnight. Predicted passenger numbers were well in excess of normal peak requirements and transport services were required to operate continuously throughout the night. MECA project scope was to: determine the level of service required; co-ordinate with the event organisers, government, other transport providers and the emergency services; determine risks and network-wide contingency plans; co-ordinate and test contingency arrangements; and develop and test and set up command and control arrangements. Planning for the largest ever operation in London Underground's history required strategic thinking and months of planning. Staff had to be vigorously trained to deal with any eventuality and the overcrowding that could result. The author discusses the processes involved in planning for the transport services required.
Date of Publication: Aug. 2000