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Saturday, April 12, 2008

On the Buses!

Steer Davies GleaveOur contact at Knowsley Council has provided an interesting report on “Bus Availability for Everton Match Days” by Tony Walmsley of Steer Davies Gleave (SDG), Everton’s chosen experts on transport, also chosen by Arsenal for the Emirates Stadium.

The report is in response to concerns raised by Merseytravel surrounding the lack of availability of the 165 buses that will be required to operate the local Matchday bus service and the park and ride service.

KEIOC would like to remind all Evertonians that, unlike the city of Liverpool, Kirkby's transport infrastructure isn't designed to handle an additional 55,000 people descending from all quarters of the UK, Kirkby has no plans to develop it's single track, single station rail connection with the nearest city, Liverpool, and having few arterial roads and a car parking zone (CPZ) that is being promoted as the most heavily policed in Europe, the vast majority of matchgoing Evertonians will have no choice other than to use the park & ride schemes, operated and paid for by Everton Football Club.

In order to obtain availability SDG have trawled far and wide including Manchester, Chester and Blackburn, Bury, Bolton, Chorley and Blackpool and even further places such as East Yorkshire. For their data sources and in order to obtain and collate this information SDG have used “specialist” websites such as:

The information collected was input into spreadsheets and the report states that the following conclusions were reached:

  • There are plenty of buses available on Sundays
  • There are plenty of buses available weekday and Saturday evenings, but these only become available after the end of peak service which means that weekday kick offs before 19.00 will be difficult to manage.*
  • By trawling resources as far afield as Manchester, North Cheshire and much of Lancashire, about 220 buses could be available for Saturday lunchtime and afternoon kick offs. But the further afield one goes the greater the likelihood of commitment to more local competing sporting events (e.g. Stagecoach Manchester serving Old Trafford)
  • The high percentage of the potential fleet taken up on Saturdays is likely to be reflected in the prices submitted by operators for these services on Saturdays.

* What SDG fail to report is that accommodating the many, many thousands of supporters expected to arrive at Kirkby by bus before 19:00, i.e; during peak service for weekday kick offs, will also be “difficult to manage.”

KEIOC's analysis of this is that if Everton play their home games on a Sunday or a Saturday evening then the buses are readily available to operate the required levels of service, on normal Saturday afternoons the availability will be severely restricted and subject to higher charges dictated by demand, a cost that will be met by Everton or more accurately by matchgoing Evertonians.

As stated within the Tesco planning application, It is disquieting that if the levels of transport are clearly not available then the stadium capacity will be capped accordingly, there is a precedent for this action at Bolton's Reebok stadium, originally it was planned to have a capacity closer to 40,000. The current capacity is 28,723.

After Bill Kenwright received a mauling from the vast majority of shareholders present at last years AGM he gave an interview to Sky Television in which he stated, "We have consultants helping us, and the team we have brought in to look at these other schemes know what they are doing. You would think we had brought in Desperate Dan and Corky the Cat, they way people are talking, we have got the best in the business looking at all the options, including the Kirkby move." Evertonians of a certain age maybe thinking it isn't Desperate Dan and Corky the Cat; just Jack, Stan and Blakey!

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