A survey of more than 1,000 fans and a study of how well (or badly) different grounds are served by public transport helped us put together a league table with some surprising results – the champions on the pitch weren’t necessarily the best at helping fans with more choices in how to get to watch their heroes.
We also looked at good examples from other industries and countries – such as the well-known German system where a match ticket will get you to the game for free on public transport over a wide area – and at what several stadiums learned from being used as venues during the 2012 Olympics. Our recommendations show that a lot can be done to make getting from door to turnstile easier.
Our top 3 were Newcastle United, Arsenal and Fulham. Newcastle are worthy 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Old Trafford’s travel plan is nearly a decade out of date and QPR isn’t making the most of London’s public transport links, while Reading has the least accessible ground of all – the Madejski Stadium is 3 miles out of town with poor public transport links.
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.
"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. We hope that our recommendations will be taken up and promoted by clubs, local authorities, transport operators and the fans themselves." Stephen Joseph, Campaign for Better Transport
"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." Malcolm Clarke, Chair of the Football Supporters’ Federation
Read our guest blog posts for more about football travel and the project:
Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a charity (1101929) and a company limited by guarantee (4943428)