There’s been some travel disruption over in Russia, and The Anfield Talk’s Robin (@robbiemac72) has an exclusive:
Many fans in Russia at the World Cup have been left fuming over the lack of seats available to get to their destinations. Free transport was promised by the local authorities for fans with a valid match ticket, now it seemly seems impossible to get a seat on the trains linking cities hosting World Cup matches. Here we report on this groundbreaking news.
Free Transport Controversy
There is some controversy over claims made by fans that the free transport offered by FIFA to transport fans to stadiums isn’t there. Alexey Sorokin, CEO of 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Local Organising Committee said that:
“Free public transport services are being offered for ticketholders during the World Cup, including additional trains linking between host cities.”
Richy Sheehy currently at the World Cup said exclusively in an interview to The Anfield Talk on the lack of free transport as promised,
“It’s happening everywhere (the lack of free transport), FIFA put on a piss poor amount of free trains and they were all booked up ages ago. Absolute rubbish, expect nothing less from FIFA.”
728 additional trains were to be laid on to transport spectators between 11 host cities.
The Anfield Talk has been in contact with the Russian Organising Committee for clarification on the matter. This is the email response we received from Nadezhda Dorzhieva. Press-secretary of Transport Directorate-2018.
“734 additional trains with 448,000 seats involved in free transport of fans and journalists accredited by FIFA. Reservation of seats is carried out on the Internet resource of ANO “Transport Directorate-2018”: tickets.transport2018.com or on a hotline: 8 (800) 775-20-18 (for calls within Russia) and +7 (495) 741-18-18 (for calls from abroad). Since June 11, 2018, tickets for free trains may also be issued at railway station ticket offices. In order to take advantage of free travel, you need to purchase a ticket for a 2018 World Cup match and register a Fan ID. The free trains are offered on a first–come, first–served basis.”
“Fans from 158 countries have already booked 88% of seats in free trains for matches of the group stage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and 67% on trains for playoff matches.”
The Anfield Talk contacted Richy Sheehy for a response to this reply from the Russian Transport Directorate.
“448,000 seats sounds like a lot but if you take the capacities of each stadium and amount of matches it’s probably a small percentage. Additionally, no one has been told that from June 11 that you can’t do it online.”
“Online still claims to be the system but tells you there are none available. Doesn’t tell you to go to the main rail station, we just figured. As well most Trains were booked out in march, before we even got our tickets. We got 1 free train. The last 3 seats, and it was only part of one way of our trip. System being horrendously slow for the people in the station too, like the workers weren’t slow they were waiting minutes after each request to the system to get anything back.”
“Online when seats were booked you could request a spot in a further train and telling me they’d let me know within 7 days, Which is obviously after the match. Probably every single journalist and corporate got each train they wanted for every match. Taking a few thousand of those seats. Or even tens of thousands depending on how many they cater for.”