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Newcastle United Top Public Transport League

Tue 14th May 2013 | Football Stadiums & Facilities

A study of more than 1,000 football fans on how well (or badly) different grounds are served by public transport has placed Newcastle United at the top of the league with champions, Manchester United languishing in 18th place.

The research, carried out by Campaign For Better Transport looked at examples from other industries and countries – such as the well-known German system where a match ticket includes free public transport over a wide area – and at what several stadiums learned from being used as venues during the 2012 Olympics.

The top three clubs were Newcastle United, Arsenal and Fulham.

Newcastle secured their status as transport champions with initiatives including season-long matchday public transport for just £10.

Gunners’ fans make full use of good public transport links, and travel planning since the move to the Emirates has reduced the percentage of fans arriving by car from 30% to 10%.

In the relegation zone were Manchester United and Queens Park Rangers, with Reading coming bottom of the table.

Old Trafford’s travel plan is nearly a decade out of date and QPR doesn’t make the most of London’s public transport links, while Reading has the least accessible ground of all with the Madejski Stadium situated miles out of town and surrounded by motorways with almost no public transport links except on match days.

"With this report and survey, we’ve shown that there are huge differences between how clubs, towns and cities help make travel better, and revealed some excellent initiatives already in place that more areas could copy,” said Stephen Joseph from the Campaign for Better Transport.

“We hope that our recommendations will be taken up and promoted by clubs, local authorities, transport operators and the fans themselves." 

Key findings from the research include:

 

  • 23% of fans spend more on travel than they do on a match ticket.  Fans travelling by train spend the most and fans that get to the game by walking, cycling and bus spend the least.
  • The average fan spends £55 on game day, with £13 going on travel, while train travellers spend £74, with £26 of this spent getting to the game. Fans in cars largely share the driving and spend £50 each on the average matchday.
  • For home games, 43% of fans drive, with 35% taking the train for at least part of their journey. For away fixtures, 57% take the train for at least some games, 44% drive and 20% travel by coach.
  • Train travel is by far the most popular mode that fans ‘would like to use more’ (36%), followed by the bus (23%) and the tram or tube (17%).
  • Of the people who said they would like to use public transport more, cost was the most common barrier with prices named by 28% of fans who gave a reason.

 

Malcolm Clarke, Chair of the Football Supporters’ Federation, added, "Fans go to enormous lengths to see their teams play but clubs sometimes forget that matchday doesn’t start when they go through the turnstile.
 
“The survey results and ideas for improvements shown in this report come largely from the fans themselves, and show that there is a large appetite for having more options for how to get to games, home and away."

transport league table (league-table.jpg)

Campaign for Better Transport’s recommendations for action include:

For Clubs: All clubs should have a travel plan that includes plans for new facilities to improve access by walking and cycling and clear information about getting to the ground without a car.

For local authorities: Should actively work to link clubs, the wider community and transport providers together to plan and provide better and cheaper links, including walking and cycling routes.

For transport operators: Better services and more flexibility are key. Operators should talk to fan representatives and help to offer more tailored services that co-ordinate with matches. It’s clear that a national Football Supporters’ Railcard with more flexible conditions for advance fares would be very popular.

For national bodies: The German KombiTicket is a model that the UK would benefit from and a similar system was used during the Olympics. The government and football authorities should take the lead in getting this initiative going for football fans and other events here.

 

Download the Full Report (pdf, 8mb)

Posted by: Aaron Gourley

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