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TfL cause chaos for home-going sports fans

The new stadium has a 60,000-seat capacity. Arsenal fans are demanding an end to what they say is match-day transport chaos at the club's new stadium. Supporters complain it can take up to an hour to get away after matches at the 60,000-seat Emirates Stadium. They said a decision not to invest in upgrading Holloway Road and Drayton Park stations had been a mistake.

Transport for London (TfL) said £50m was being spent on increasing capacity at the Finsbury Park and Highbury & Islington rail and Tube stations. Plans to upgrade Holloway Road were scrapped after studies found the cost of enlargement, which involved replacing the lifts with escalators, was too expensive.

Terry Stacey, of Islington Council, which granted planning approval for the stadium, said TfL assured them the transport links were adequate. "Sadly, that's not resulted in an upgraded Holloway Road station," he said. We're working closely with the various transport companies to see if there is an option for extra capacity

Drayton Park, the closest station to the stadium, is closed on weekends when most Arsenal home matches take place. A spokesman for train operator First Capital Connect said this was because "there is not enough demand". He said the firm would decide within the next three months on the feasibility of running services at weekends.

Paul Matz, of the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, said transport improvements were urgently needed. "An increase of 20,000 spectators coming to Arsenal on match days has been a challenge for all concerned," he said.

Arsenal's managing director Keith Edelman said the club was now focussing on transport after tackling stadium management issues. "I will personally be making my way to Arsenal and Finsbury Park tube stations after matches to assess the situation,". He said supporters were being encouraged to stagger their journeys as much as possible with post-match entertainment and initiatives. We're working closely with the various transport companies to see if there is an option for extra capacity," said Mr Edelman.

From: Arsenal fans' plea over transport, BBC News,1 2 07

Source: BBC News

Watch the video report at: Overcrowding at Arsenal

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