To comply with Scottish Planning policies, AFC has assured council planners that by locating a stadium 6.7 miles from the city it serves, stadium events will not bring chaos and additional pollution to our already busy road as a result of thousands of supporters driving en-masse by private vehicle. The only way this is possible is to offer alternative and sustainable travel options and to encourage fans to use them.
As there is no train, tram, or metro station nearby, only one bus route (which is not allowed to stop at the stadium site or it would require a lay-by to be built by the club), and is not walkable by 99% of supporters, then the only solution they have been able to present is to transport fans out to the stadium in a series of laid-on shuttle buses. This will be a unique solution, given that a) no other football club in the UK is located so far from the city it represents and b) the club will be highly reliant on shuttle buses to transport fans.
Reading the documents, and understanding the necessity to have the shuttles to provide a sustainable transport plan, it’s hard to see how it can work either in its current form or with any ‘fine-tuning’ that may be made after surveying the fans, given the fundamental requirements to stagger the buses and the volume of fans they need to transport.
Here are some facts – all taken from the supporting statements presented by AFC.
- There will be shuttle buses from the city centre, Dyce and Kingswells Park & Rides.
- The number of people being taken by bus to the Kingsford Stadium for a weekend or mid-week non Old Firm (NOF) or European game is 5,715. For this, 42 buses making 68 journeys are required to transport fans to the stadium, and 70 buses will be required to transport them back.
(The differential in the number to and from the stadium is because the buses to the City Centre will only have time to make a single journey after the match, whereas on the way there they can make more than one).
- The number of people being taken by bus to the Kingsford Stadium for a weekend or mid-week Old Firm (OF) game is 8,065. For this, 74 buses, making 102 journeys, are required to transport fans to the stadium. 103 buses will be required to transport them back.
- 103 buses are quoted as available for use across 11 North-East bus companies. Whether there actually will be 103 buses (and drivers) available does not seem a given. A number of caveats are made regarding availability within responses from the bus companies e.g. ‘subject to discussion on funding and revenue risk’, ‘based on weekends with no existing bookings’, ‘we would not be able to supply coaches unless hirer will provide security guards on our coaches’.
- Using the figures presented by AFC in their supporting statements, the quoted figure for the hire of one bus is £500. Given they will need a minimum of 1,672 bus hires for a season of 22 games (18 NOF / 4 OF) not including any European or domestic cup runs, the cost will run to many £100,000s.
- Match days tickets for home fans will include the cost of the buses. This is intended to encourage fans to use the buses, in that they will be paying for them in their ticket price.
- The shuttles will commence 3 hours before the match. For a mid-day kick-off, buses will start to come to the stadium at 9am. For a 3pm kick-off, they will start at mid-day, and for an evening kick-off, they will start at 16:45.
- Using figures presented by AFC they propose to have 6,475 fans bused to the stadium one hour before kick-off for an Old Firm fixture, and 5,123 for a non Old Firm game.
- For a 3pm kick-off the last shuttle will leave Dyce for Kingsford at 14:20, the city centre at 14:00 and Kingswells at 14:30.
- After the match the first shuttles will leave 5 minutes after the full-time whistle. The last shuttles will leave 45 minutes later.
- The time allocated in the strategy to fully load each bus leaving the stadium is 2 minutes.
So, a paper exercise to appease the planners, or a strategy that can evolve into a workable sustainable solution with a few tweaks? We know what we think – what about you?
Support for the “No Kingsford Stadium Campaign” can now be given by donating to NKS/WAEPAL. Your donations will be used to support the NO Kingsford Stadium Campaign.
STEP 1: Complete a WAEPAL GiftAid form at https://waepal.org.uk/why-claim-gift-aid/
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