Six days into the Confederations Cup in South Africa, the warm-up tournament for the World Cup next year, the transport of spectators to and from the games is still beset by difficulty, the organisers admitted on Friday.
The four host cities in the tournament – Johannesburg, Pretoria, Rustenburg and Bloemfontein – have put in place park-and-ride systems to ferry spectators to the stadiums from designated points by coach and minivan.
In Johannesburg, the system has been particularly bumpy.
Ticket-holders complain of chaotic scenes at the pick-up points and hours-long waits to board buses after games at Ellis Park.
The situation persisted on Thursday during the Egypt-Italy clash, which ended in an historic 1-0 win for Egypt, watched by a near capacity crowd of 52,000.
“There were no problems getting into the stadium but certainly there were challenges as they left the stadium,” Jermaine Craig, spokesman for the World Cup local organising committee, acknowledged.
The city of Johannesburg had agreed to provide more volunteers to try to speed the passage of people in and out of the stadiums, he said.
Johannesburg was supposed to have a new rapid bus system in place for the Confederations Cup but the all-powerful minibus taxi industry, fearing for its market share, put the brakes on the project. The first phase of the bus-rapid-transit (BRT) is now only due for completion by September.
On organisational problems, such as transport, Craig assured: “Certainly we are taking a lot of that on board for the World Cup next year.”
DATED: 19th June 2009