Glasgow 2014: failure to promote free transport

PREVENTING gridlock in Glasgow with a car-free Commonwealth Games is under threat because of the organisers’ failure to highlight free public transport to spectators, experts have claimed.

Sir Chris Hoy and Rebecca Adlington join the Queens Baton Relay on Londons Millennium Bridge. Picture: Chris Radburn

Ticket holders will be able to travel free by bus, train and Subway within the city to venues – but critics say this had not been made clear on tickets.

Games-goers who decide to drive face having to walk for up to 20 minutes because of parking restrictions around venues.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The offer of free travel within Glasgow is included on the official 2014 website, but it is only mentioned in the small print on the back of event ­tickets.

This simply states, under Ticketing Terms and Conditions: “You may use available travel services in certain areas, on the date printed on your ticket, to travel to sessions without additional charge.”

In addition, a covering letter sent with tickets from Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee chairman Lord Smith makes no reference to free travel.

In the Your Tickets and Guide to the XX Commonwealth Games booklet which accompanies it, free public transport is not mentioned ­until page six.

Neil Greig, the Scotland-based policy and research director of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “Transport is the key to the success of the event, yet there is very little about it on the tickets.

“It should have been written all across them so people would get that message immediately. Transport should be up there with your seat number as the second most important thing to learn from your ticket.

“The success of the London Olympics was that this was made clear.”

Greig said spectators were more likely to drive to Games events as a result.

He said: “A lot of people do not see using buses as easy and the first reaction from those travelling from east of Glasgow will be to take the car, not the train.”

Glasgow Green MSP Patrick Harvie said: “Transport has long been one of my concerns about the Commonwealth Games.

“Sadly, it seems our visitors will still be at a loss about the public transport provision, and the city’s residents won’t see the investment in sustainable, affordable, reliable transport that Glasgow so badly needs.”

Public transport campaigners Transform Scotland also criticised the information sent with tickets. Director Colin Howden said: “The material provided so far to spectators is far too vague about the free public transport offer.

“We hope the Games organisers will redouble their efforts so spectators are left in no doubt that free local public transport to the venues is being provided.”

A Glasgow 2014 spokeswoman said: “Our ticketing guide includes a ‘planning your travel’ section, which provides a brief overview of transport provision available across all locations hosting Games ­venues.

“It also highlights the ticket holders’ entitlement to use local public transport.”