We now know of about 500 coaches coming to the march, with more likely closer to the date. That this many people are on their way is fantastic news for the march, but it creates big problems of logistics.

There’s no way we can fit all of these into Central London, as end to end that’s about 7 miles of coaches. Dropping off at Embankment would delay those still coming into London, and people wouldn’t be able to find the right coaches in time as they set off again afterwards.

We’re currently organising a number of coach parks around London, looking at ease of access for coaches coming from different regions of the UK. Even though this will mean an extra stage to people’s journeys on public transport, avoiding a snarl-up in Central London should still get people there and back more quickly and with much less confusion.

The first coach parks we’ve been able to book so far are Wembley and Excel, which are used to organising large numbers of coaches and are near accessible tube lines in to the start of the march. Other locations are currently being confirmed in South-Central London, the City and East London, and we’ll be announcing these soon, as well as making sure people know the best routes to and from their coach parks to the march.

However, it’ll take a little longer to give individual coach organisers more information about their own locations, as we have to balance considerations like access for disabled people’s groups and those with awkward equipment, such as bands.

So it’s very important if you’re involved with a coach coming to the rally, that you please do two things now:

UPDATE: There’s a bit more about coach travel on our 23 Feb update

UPDATE: More info on coach parks and drop off points on our 1 March update


  1. Jon Woods says:

    As one of the people helping organise coaches from Portsmouth I think the coaches need to drop off at the Embankment or very near and pick up near Hyde Park. This happened on the huge Stop the War Demo in 2003. The TUC needs to ensure our transport arangements are not mucked about.

  2. Pete Firmin says:

    I agree with all the comments about the problems this will cause and just wanted to add a bit more. Many of those coming on coaches from outside London will not be particularly familior with the London undergound system. Any closure of stations will leave them even more confused and likely to considerably delay them getting to the demonstration and, importantly back to their coaches. That on top of cost, may deter many from coming in the first place. You can only surmise that this is what the Met and the TUC want.

  3. Dave Statham says:

    It is clear that coaches must be able drop off near Embakment then be driven away and parked. Many can be parked in Park Lane and the rest as near to Hyde Park as possible to facilitate pick up at the end of the rally. The TUC must tell the Met this is the only acceptable arrangement and if the Met cut up rough the TUC should end discussions; the Met will soon be back at the negotiating table.

  4. Mike says:

    I think it is appalling that the TUC have agreed to the Met’s riducles demand that we park coaches at Wembley. It is designed to put people off going and will make it more expensive. I shall be arguing that we should park somewhere near the City.

  5. Sam Buckley says:

    This is outrageous and it is outrageous that anyone from the TUC should have considered co-operating with it for a moment. The coaches are already booked FOR SPECIFIC TIMES!

  6. Nick and Jan - Unison members Birmingham Branch says:

    And another thing – what’s the next brilliant plan to try to keep the numbers down? The TUC agree with the met/Boris that anybody travelling to the demo from the north of the UK has to park up in Birmingham and wait for the new high speed rail link to be built to take them to London. It wouldn’t surprise us………..
    Angry – but not shocked at all these attempts to sanitize the event for the sake of the TUC and Labour Party’s image – never mind our jobs or that the barbarians are trying to demolish the infrastructure of our country.

  7. Nick and Jan - Unison members Birmingham Branch says:

    What is this nonsense about not being able to park in Central London? Shame on the TUC for agreeing this with the met/Boris. Never mind bending the knee to the likes of these people just because a few students got rightly “uppity”. It’s about time they stopped caring about their media image. We think they are nervous in case people get “uppity” again. Haven’t they learned from the miners strike that their media image (and that of the Labour party) is not the all important thing here. Their function is to protect the jobs, pay and working conditions of their members. And if we have to upset the likes of the met and Boris so be it. The barbarians are at the gate – we should not even consider parking the coaches at Watford Gap – or whatever ridiculous place they are suggesting.

  8. nick grant says:

    As a Wembley resident I can confirm that WEMBLEY PARK station does have ramp and a single lift access to the station and a lift access to the platforms, though these would be swamped by the expected numbers.

    The Jubilee line goes through to Westmnster, which is near Embankment.

    However dont even think of goin any where near Wembley Central station. It is a tip and poorly accessible for able-bodied travellers in small numbers let alone thousands of us.

    I agree with those who say that this is all at the behest of the Met Police and Tory central London councils who do not want the hassle of parking nearer the centre, and want to be as obstructive as possible to this protest.

    The most obvious place to find the 7 miles of parking that the TUC claims as being necessary is the City of London whose streets are deserted at week-ends such that pubs and restaurants don’t open. I wonder why that option is not being offerred?

    And is it true that private security firms are being bought as stewards?
    Outrageous of true.

  9. Tony Barnsley says:

    This is an outrageous position for the TUC to agree to and is designed to put people off from coming to London. I agree with others – if it could be done in 2003 for the anti-war demo why not today. See you all at the Embankment as we get off our coaches with our union members, banners, family and friends.

  10. Andy Fenwick says:

    I can see a lot more problems with the use of satellite coach parking around London

    • The density & number on the march will put a strain on London Transport system and we will have the situation of marches not able to return to the coach park in time to catch the coach for the return journey because of long queues at tube stations. The tube cannot cope with 20,000 west ham fans trying to get on the tube at the same time so what will it do with 300,000 marchers. The quickest it could take up to safely clear the rally at the end of the day is 4 hours. Coach drivers are under strict driving time limits that large numbers will be stranded
    • To expect marches to travel around London with large union banner poles & placards etc on overcrowded public transport will only cause confusion and disruption and we could get the case that for Health & Safety reasons marchers will be turned away from use of public transport.
    • The actual cost of tickets to get across London will be a problem for low paid workers or students and actually buying the tickets will be a logistical nightmare, can the ticketing system cope with large number of marchers trying to work which type of ticket to buy

  11. Susan Barton says:

    This is totally unacceptable. 500 coaches is nothing in London. That’s only about 25,000 people. I’ve been on bigger marches than this in London and travelled by coach.

    Unemployed can’t afford Tube fares. Some of us, especially older people, women, families with children and young people may not feel confident using public transport to find their way across London to the demo.

  12. Bristol UNITE activist says:

    Aside from the extra costs and the nightmare of getting across London, there is a real problem that massive over-congestion at Wembley and Embankment will simply result in those tube stations closing for very obvious health and safety reasons. Similarly at the end of the march, Marble Arch will be overwhelmed.
    This is a really stupid idea and has clearly been imposed on a seemingly compliant TUC by the metropolitan police who are keen to disuade large numbers of people from risking coming to London to exercise their democratic right to protest.

  13. Abby says:

    It’s in everyone’s interest that this march goes ahead well logistically. I’m sure the organisers are doing their best to ensure that the transport arrangements are as flawless as possible for all involved. No need to start panicking.

  14. Ridiculous.

    The organisers of the HUGE anti-Iraq-war demo manged without forcing people to “drop-off” in Wembley. How many are you expecting?!

    How are you going to get thousands and thousands of people from (eg) Wembley to Embankment?!

  15. Angela Gerrard says:

    What complete nonsense. It will be absolute chaos at Wembley tube station and will ensure that groups who have travelled together will end up being split up. Not to mention coming back! We are travelling as a group of Labour activists and supporters and it is really important for us that we are on the march together as a means of building our party/solidarity locally.

    I think this is simply a police response to the student demos and the TUC should not allow itself to be cornered into agreeing to it. Come on TUC – you can do a lot better than this!

    • Pam Woods says:

      I understand it’s the police who are insisting on this. It’s utterly ridiculous. I agree there were no problems with the anti-war demo, but there was a different Met Commissioner at the time. I suspect the current one is still licking his wounds after the Millbank debacle and is being over cautious as a result. He’s making another big mistake, though (is he stupid or something?) because the public transport system won’t be able to cope.

      I appreciate the organisers at the TUC are doing their best (and I understand one of their best organisers sadly died recently) but I think this decision should be challenged very strongly, even if only on logistical grounds, let alone the inconvenience to people travelling from outside London to the march.

  16. Charlie Sarell says:

    I have attended many demos in London and never heard anything so ridiculous as this suggestion. For the big CND deoms in the 80s we were dropped off in central London and picked up in central London. Turnout near enough 1 million. Does anyone really expect people to travel down and then have to take the tube across London to the Embankment? Fair enough to have the coach parks outside of central London but we must be dropped off in central London. Or is this a subtle attempt by Boris to infringe our right to free assembly!

  17. Des says:

    Can anyone confirm this is at the bequest of the police and has never been done before for any demonstration in London. The comments above clearly show a need to get certain groups to central London a sa priority if not all for that matter as has been the case in the past.

  18. Jenny ermos says:

    Divide and Conquer – they’re making us argue amongst ourselves!

  19. Matt Raine says:

    I have to say I share Linda Burnips concerns, we’re promoting our coach to retired members, have many members who have health problems, are encouraging children and families to attend etc all of which makes going to Wembley one big mess.

    Its not the case there will be ‘disabled’ coaches separate from the rest, we are one movement and most coaches are likely to have at least one person with mobility issues on them

    I was on the huge Feb 15th demo against the Iraq war, estimated size 1.8m to 2.1m people and this wasn’t done and the demo worked brilliantly (logistically)

  20. Richard Henson says:

    Right, Northern Voices! I expressed concern about the logistics arrangement on one of the fagebook sites. The big Iraq demonstration was a model of how to do it, which even (begrudgingly) acclaimed by David Blunkett on a TV documentary. Apart from the coaches issue, there should be two entry points to the march, one at Malet Street, the other at Embankment, and the two should join at Piccadilly Circus.

  21. Joe Chapman says:

    Also, I fancy a spot of camping… is there any where to camp in London?

    • JOhn Tollick says:

      Parliament Square! Make it our Tahir (thanks to Northern Voices; see above)

    • Francis says:

      Can I just point out that many coaches will not be organised by unions but by other groups (eg political parties, work/student groups and networks, campaign groups and other organisations). With this in mind, I would like to stop and ask how many people will actually park where they’re supposed to, and get the tube in, and how many will simply stick two fingers at those telling them to head for wembley or wherever, and instead drive all the way into central London anyway – causing even more traffic chaos than if you planned for coaches going into London in the first place, as rather than having organised points for drop-off, parking etc, you get coaches and minibuses dumping themselves in whatever road space they can find.

      I can honestly see this happening – unless, of course, the police put Soviet-style roadblocks on every route into London checking for coaches carrying protesters…

  22. Joe Chapman says:

    I’d love to show solidarity with those organising the coaches by using the coaches. The problem is that I see some big risks here as a result of the news that coaches won’t be going near central London.

    The risks I see are:

    1. There won’t be enough parking spaces for all of the coaches.
    2. There won’t be enough transport into London.
    3. There’ll be confusion over where the coaches are going.
    4. The transport system will not be able to operate normally with the potential tens of thousands of extra people using it.
    5. People with disabilities that make it difficult for them to use the transport system will be placed in an even more difficult situation.
    6. People will miss the start of the march as a result.
    7. People will be put off altogether by lack of support for contingency plans or negotiation with police over getting people into London.
    8. That it will be almost impossible to get home after the march and rally on the same day or that it will take several hours instead of 2.

    Personally at the moment I’m not seeing any information which reassures me that these risks can be overcome and prevented from being real issues without me doing one or more of the following:

    *Finding alternative transport to take me straight into Central London on the day.
    *Finding alternative transport to take me back home on the day.
    *Staying in London on Friday night.
    Staying in London on Saturday night then travelling back on Sunday.
    *Getting the police to ‘put me up’. :)

    At present I think the best options are to stay in London Friday and Saturday night.

    Fortunately I’ve got a waterproof poncho which I can turn into a shelter, just in case I happen to get stuck in London on Saturday.

  23. Don’t see why this is necessary. In 2003, I and 1 million others were brought to London on coaches, many of which later formed up at Park Lane and Embankment and further afield – but not as far as Wembley. If you want to collude with the Met Police to ruin this demo, that’s your lookout. I think as many people as possible should stay in Hyde Park for one day after the demo, make this out Tahrir Square!

  24. Jignesh Pabari says:

    Hey guys i live in Wembley and will be attending this march i live on a housing estate with free parking and on a normal Saturday have alot of parking i would say for around 20 coaches and 2minz away from sudbury town train station that is 30minz away from central london on the picadilly line so if your up for it then il be more then happy to help with other parking space’s and ect….

  25. Linda Burnip says:

    yes and what about disabled people the tube from Wembley is barely accessible and from other sites probably not accessible at all by tube. Typical of the TUC though. Also means onwards transport can be cancelled to stop people getting anywhere near centralLondon.

    • Matthew says:

      Hi Linda,

      From the article above I gather that they’ll be giving priority to anyone who is disabled (i.e. allowing their coaches into Central London) which reaffirms how important it is for the coach organisers to pass on as much info as they can about their party.

      Hope that helps

      Take care

    • Kev says:

      I assume you have formed the view that disabled people all come in wheelchairs?

      If you want to influence this or the TUC then get involved

  26. How much will coach parking cost at Wembley? What deals have been done for tube travel, or are we expected to ask 17 year olds on EMA to pay full fare?

    • Allan in Hull says:

      Been doing some research, LT have a group ticket that you can get if there are MORE than 10 people with no upper limit).
      As long as 10 or more travel at the same time, it costs £4 for adults and £1.50 for under 18′s. This is valid for zones 1-6 (Wembley is zone 4).

      I CANNOT stress enough that 10 or more must travel at the same time.

      If thats no good, then its £7.30 per person and this wil allow upto 4 children 10yrs or younger to travel free with them


  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tweet4Labour, TUC news, Don't Break Britain, March 26 March, March 26 March and others. March 26 March said: @dave_plummer Hi Dave – Wembley is booked for some coaches & more coach parks will be announced soon. 500+ a challenge! [...]