Improved transportation planned for Soccer City

Improved transportation planned for Soccer City

Published Jun. 12, 2010 4:07 p.m. ET

World Cup and city officials in Johannesburg met Saturday to improve transportation for matches at Soccer City after traffic congestion caused some fans to miss the opening match.

World Cup organizing committee spokesman Rich Mkhondo said Saturday that transportation experts were studying why the sold-out stadium was not full to see South Africa draw 1-1 with Mexico.

``The reason it was not entirely full to capacity was because there was some challenges when it comes to transportation,'' he said.

Mkhondo said too many fans drove to the stadium, and that using public transport ``will help us a great deal.'' He called on spectators to ride buses and trains, and report any problems to officials.


Surrounding roads on Friday were gridlocked, leaving fans, VIP guests and media waiting in lines for up to four hours. Some also reported problems getting transportation from the stadium after the match.

Johannesburg's bus and train services were defended by Sibongile Mazibuko, executive director of the city's World Cup project team.

``Our public transport system has been put to the test and is highly adequate to accommodate the volume of football fans in Johannesburg,'' she said in a statement Saturday.

Mazibuko said problems were caused by fans without a car access pass trying to ``ambush'' the restricted traffic zone around the stadium near Soweto.

Vehicles turned away by Johannesburg Metro Police then held up people arriving with valid parking permits.

``Transportation challenges are caused by people,'' he said. ``It is the fans' responsibility to make it easier for us to help them. ... From the center of Johannesburg it takes 15 minutes to get to the stadium. To go back it takes 12 minutes.''

Improvements to the transportation plan should be announced Sunday, Mkhondo said.

Soccer City is next scheduled to host the Netherlands-Denmark match Monday.