Fears Auckland won't cope with World Cup

BY JOHN HARTEVELT
Last updated 05:00 02/02/2010

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Rugby World Cup

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Auckland is not ready to cope with tens of thousands of international visitors set to flood the city for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, a report reveals.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce and Auckland Mayor John Banks say they are confident the city will be prepared, but a draft transport strategy released under the Official Information Act shows transport planners are worried.

The Auckland Regional Transport Authority report, written last July, warned of complacency over demand for services.

"During presentations and meetings with decision-makers an attitude of `this is a small increase in business as usual' has been encountered," the report says.

"The levels of patron movement and operational standard [needed for the RWC] are in reality significantly above what is currently delivered."

The cup is the third-biggest sporting event in the world and is expected to attract a television audience of up to four billion, plus 60,000 overseas visitors.

The influx of visitors would place more than four times the demand on public transport than Auckland had seen before.

"In a number of areas there are limited people who are able to perform tasks that are either needed, or may be needed," the report said.

Nearly 2km of roadside parking had to be found around Eden Park for 130 buses and the entire fleet of 38 Auckland trains would be needed on match days.

Mr Joyce said last night the report showed there was "considerable work to do", but good progress had been made since the report was written.

"There are a number of organisations with a lot of skin in this game, the Government not the least one, so I think everybody is pretty focused."

Mr Banks said $58 millon was being spent on the Eden Park precinct and thousands were expected to walk from the central city well ahead of game kick-offs.

It would take about 30 minutes to walk to the ground from a central city hotel with widened footpaths and improved signs.

"It'd be a great walk."

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- The Dominion Post

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