'Park and ride' scheme for World Cup cricket being re-evaluated

Patrons exit a 'Park & Ride' shuttle at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, on June 13, ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup match between Afghanistan and Papua New Guinea.  - Photo by Roger Jacob
Patrons exit a 'Park & Ride' shuttle at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, on June 13, ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup match between Afghanistan and Papua New Guinea. - Photo by Roger Jacob

LOCAL organisers of the ICC Cricket World Cup are re-evaluating the park-and-ride system after what many are calling June 12's disastrous and chaotic experience at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy.

The system provided free shuttles for some 14,000 patrons to and from the Brian Lara Cricket Academy from South Park Mall in Tarouba, Paria grounds in Gasparillo and the water taxi terminal in San Fernando. Public parking at the cricket academy was prohibited.

In a brief comment to Newsday, local organising committee director Omar Khan said organisers are aware of the complaints and are working to rectify the situation.

"We did have a lengthy meeting this morning with all the security services, traffic management and all the people who were involved in the system and yes, we identified there are gaps, we identified there are areas that need to be improved and we are working feverishly with all agencies to ensure that it is going to be improved for the rest of the tournament and the group stage matches and the semi-finals that we having here in Trinidad."

Khan said the Sport Company of TT is expected to publish a detailed release on the incident.

The next match is scheduled to be played at the academy on June 13 between Papua New Guinea and Afghanistan at 8.30 pm.

The park-and-ride scheme was advertised as a way to "watch the matches without worrying about parking." This was implemented because parking at the academy was prohibited to the public.

But after the first game of the tournament in TT, thousands of patrons had to walk about five kilometres back to South Park or the Paria compound because the shuttle service was not properly co-ordinated.

The fiasco led many social media users to dub the system the "park-and-hike."

One patron, Rachiel, was among those who decided to walk back to South Park after she could not access a shuttle.

"We don't really get things right. We do CPL (Caribbean Premier League) and things are crazy in terms of traffic management, so I really did expect it to be horrible, even though it's an ICC event."

"There's only one word I can use to describe it and it was chaos."

Another patron, Avinash, had a similar experience. He parked at the Paria compound, but had to walk all the way out to the Sir Solomon Hochoy Highway, where he was able to flag down a shuttle and get a ride.

"It was a very harrowing experience. There were hundreds of people who decided to walk back to Petrotrin (Paria), just walking on the highway. This is at half past 12, one o'clock in the morning...walking on the highway is not recommended or surely isn't something that's safe."

His friend Anil lamented that elderly people and children were among the crowd who had to make the trek.

"All these people just on the road. You'd swear like it's some sort of disaster. They just walking on the road. We don't know where we're going. The police ain't know. It was so bad that people who had van and thing, people just jumped in the tray to get a drop and the police ain't doing nothing. It was a disaster."

Commenting at a post-Cabinet media briefing on June 13, Prime Minister acknowledged that something more had to be done to manage the crowds at the venue. But until something substantive can be done, he advised patrons to use their due diligence.

"Leave a little earlier and give yourself more time to get down there and enjoy the game on this occasion. Maybe next time around we would have done more and it would be easier and eventually, we would have solved the problem."


"‘Park and ride’ scheme for World Cup cricket being re-evaluated"

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