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Angry travellers are offered refunds over transport 'shambles'

SPECTATORS who missed the start of sporting events due to "shambolic" park and ride services will be offered refunds on a "case by case" basis, organisers have said.

THE LONG WAIT: Train travellers in Central Station.
THE LONG WAIT: Train travellers in Central Station.

Hundreds of ticket holders complained they arrived late at venues after waiting hours for shuttle buses from park and ride points in Glasgow and Lanarkshire on Sunday, the busiest day of the Games.

Park and ride sites in Hamilton; Eurocentral, near Bellshill; Freescale in East Kilbride; and Silverburn, Glasgow, were among the worst affected,

Many travellers voiced their frustration and demanded refunds for the cost of their park and ride bookings, which cost £5-£10 per vehicle, with some also calling for compensation to make up for having missed chunks of the events they paid to see.

A Glasgow 2014 spokeswoman said: "We have a refund policy for cancellation or delay of sports events. This requires spectators to request a refund via email to contactus@glasgow2014.com.

"This policy would also apply to any spectator who missed their session at Hampden Park yesterday due to park and ride shuttle issues.

"Refunds will be considered on a case by case basis and we would ask spectators to hang on to their tickets, because these may be required for a refund, together with their park and ride booking reference number. No refunds will be issued at Glasgow 2014 ticket offices in George Square or at venues."

Organisers laid on extra buses at sites yesterday to cope with demand following the outcry, with Hampden, the venue for athletics events, including the 100 metres, among those targeted for additional resources. Park and ride operations were said to be "running as scheduled" yesterday.

Andrew Wallace, who had tickets for the Rugby Sevens at Ibrox, said he waited more than two hours for a shuttle bus at the Hamilton park and ride depot on Sunday, along with about 1000 other spectators.

He said: "The park and ride at Hamilton Technology Park was a shambles, as was P&R at Silverburn and Eurocentral, leaving thousands of us angry after we failed to see games for which we had paid dearly, and travelled, in some cases, many hundreds of miles.

"They charge us for park and ride that had to be paid/reserved in advance, so they know the numbers.

"We left Hamilton at 5.15pm - at which time the head of stewarding there admitted they had shifted only half the queue - and arrived in Glasgow after the England-Scotland game. Most people there were very angry and, like us, will be demanding refunds on both the Ibrox tickets and also P+R."

Meanwhile, there were also complaints over "chaotic scenes" at Glasgow Queen Street Station on Sunday, as passengers trying to return home crowded on to trains to Edinburgh.

Elsie Hannah, a Clydesider volunteer for the Games, said: "I arrived to chaotic scenes at the station, with queues outside for people trying to get to Edinburgh and people being unable to get on the trains they needed because the trains were already full.

"I had to get a replacement bus service as the train I needed to get on was full by 10pm, 15 minutes before it was due to depart."

A ScotRail spokesman said the operator was using "every train and carriage" available to meet demand.

On Friday alone, Glasgow Central Station handled 65 per cent more passengers than normal - up by 110,000 to 280,000 passengers - with a record 174,000 people through Edinburgh Waverley.

However, with an estimated 670,000 visitors to Glasgow over the so-called "Super Weekend", the city's infrastructure faced unprecedented demand. About 1.35 million extra journeys were made by road and rail, including 780,000 on Sunday.

By rush-hour last night, hundreds of athletics spectators had again mobbed Central Station.

By 5pm, an hour before the event was due to get under way, a dedicated queue for those en route to Hampden snaked from the side of the Glasgow 2014 souvenir tent on to Hope Street outside. It stretched from there to Argyle Street, then under the length of the railway bridge before turning and continuing up a significant portion of Union Street until the Fopp music retailer, a few yards from the station's west entrance.

Davie Gilbert, 52, from Cumnock was at the back of the queue at 5.15pm. Like everyone else in the queue, he was looking forward to the 100 metres, which he was attending with his 14-year-old son, Paul.

Mr Gilbert said: "I knew it was going to be busy and I thought I had left a decent amount of time. Now that I am here I wish I had turned up an hour earlier - I do not expect to be there for the start.

"The queue is moving quickly though and the stewards are helpful. I do not think there is much that more they can do - it is just the volume of people versus the number of trains available."

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