The Campaign for Better Transport (CfBT) has called on top football clubs to help fans tackle the spiralling cost of getting to matches and warned that poorly organised and increasingly expensive transport options could leave fans priced out of football.
In letters sent to all Premier League clubs CfBT highlights research showing fans want better choices in how they get to games and want their clubs to do more to help. CfBT has highlighted three measures which it says clubs should promote to make travel for fans easier:
- A new 'One-Two Ticket' should be introduced and used by clubs, giving access to local public transport using a match ticket. This would mirror one of the transport success stories of last summer's Olympics and replicate Germany's highly successful KombiTicket, which is used for all Bundesliga games.
- The Premier League and the Association of Train Operating Companies should introduce a specific football supporters’ railcard. Research shows rail is a particularly popular choice for away games but fans often cannot take advantage of cheaper advance fares because of the threat of late changes to kick-off times. A football supporters’ railcard could allow fans to buy tickets that would link travel arrangements to a game rather than a train, giving the flexibility needed to book ahead and save money. This model could also be extended to other major events.
- Lift sharing - sharing a lift allows fans to travel together, cutting costs and congestion. All clubs should formally endorse lift sharing and use their website and other promotional material to help fans find fellow supporters to travel with.
Sian Berry of CfBT said: "Our research found that, up and down the country, many fans spend as much money on getting to the ground as they do on buying a ticket for the game.
"They want something cheaper and better than traffic jams and overpriced car parking. Clubs need to learn from other countries and work with train and bus companies to make travelling to the game an affordable part of the matchday experience.
"As well as saving fans a fortune, a few simple steps like this would also make football more accessible and could help to increase attendances."
Findings from CfBT's study include:
- 23% of fans spend more on travel than they do on a match ticket. Fans traveling by train spend the most followed by lone drivers. Fans that get to the game by bus spend the least.
- The average fan spends £55 on match day, with £13 going on travel, while train travellers spend £74, with £26 of this spent getting to the game.
- For home games, 43% of fans drive, with 35% taking the train for at least part of their journey.
- For away games, 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%).
The research identified good and bad practice at Premier League clubs:
- Newcastle United's Magpie Mover gives season ticket holders matchday use of public transport across Tyne and Wear for £10 for the season. A similar although more expensive option is available to Sunderland fans.
- Arsenal have worked with Transport for London and others to help fans leave the car at home. Transport planning means the percentage of fans arriving by car has fallen from 30% to 10% since moving to their new stadium
- Manchester United's Old Trafford ground is not well served by high-capacity public transport and has a travel plan nearly a decade out of date
- Norwich City's Carrow Road sits very close to a mainline railway station. However, the club website promotes car travel and parking before public transport or other alternatives.
Full details of Campaign for Better Transport’s Door to Turnstile research can be found here.