Fan travel plea to football clubs

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Top football clubs should help fans tackle the "spiralling cost" of getting to matches, according to a campaign group.

A special football railcard is one of the options put forward by the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT).
The group has written to the chief executives of all Premier League clubs and given details of a survey showing how much fans fork out to follow their favourites.

The CBT survey showed that 23% of fans spend more on travel than they do on a match ticket, with supporters travelling by train spending the most, followed by passenger-less car drivers.
The CBT suggested the Premier League and the Association of Train Operating Companies should introduce a specific football supporters' railcard.

It also put forward the idea of a "one-two ticket' which clubs could bring in, giving access to local public transport using a match ticket.

The CBT said all clubs should formally endorse lift-sharing and use their websites and other promotional material to help fans find fellow supporters to travel with.

CBT sustainable transport campaigner Sian Berry 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."

The CBT cited some examples of clubs already helping fans with travel plans. 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, while 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 at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium in north London has fallen from 30% to 10% since the club moved from their old Highbury ground.

Last month, another Premier League club, Stoke City, announced they were offering supporters free coach travel to all 19 league away games this season.

Stoke said they were using the increase in TV revenue to fund the initiative.

A spokesman for the Association of Train Operating Companies said: "Football fans can already take advantage of the many discounted fares and offers train companies make available, including cheap Advance tickets, discounts for group travel and Railcards offering a third off fares.

"A number of Premier League clubs work closely with local operators to offer fans special match deals and ensure safe travel to and from fixtures."

© 2013 Press Association
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