World Cup fans urged to use public transport

image caption, There was gridlock outside the venue of the opening game on Friday

South Africa has urged football fans to use public transport when attending World Cup matches, as Fifa investigates why thousands of seats were empty during some games.

Transport and ticketing problems are believed to have contributed to fans not being at the stadiums despite tickets being sold out.

Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele urged people to make use of South Africa's new transport infrastructure when attending matches to help ease congestion on roads.

Gridlocked traffic was reported several hours before Friday's opening match and a number of the weekend's games, including the England-USA match in Rustenburg.

Fifa is investigating whether transport and ticket distribution problems are to blame for ticket holders not showing up at the opening matches although 97% of tickets had been sold.

'World class'

World Cup organising committee spokesperson Rich Mkhondo said the empty seats at the stadia were because of the "lack of match appeal", reports the Times Newspaper.

image caption, Algeria-Slovenia lacked 'match appeal'

But he blamed the "lack of transportation" in an interview with Talk Radio 702.

"It could be that they [the tickets] were distributed to people who did not have means of transportation," he said.

Mr Ndebele said too many people still used private transport to get to games and urged fans make use of the 40bn rand ($5.2bn; £3.5bn) worth of transport facilities upgraded specifically for the World Cup.

"Public transport forms the backbone of transport plans for the 2010 Fifa World Cup," he said, reports Sport24.

Before the tournament started, Fifa said it had sold 97% of the tickets available for the matches.

But the average attendance so far is 93% says BBC Sport Editor David Bond.

The transport minister said South Africa had world class airports, upgraded train stations and refurbished coaches.

Empty seats were most apparent at Saturday's match between Greece and South Korea in Port Elizabeth and Sunday's game between Algeria and Slovenia at Polokwane's Peter Mokaba Stadium.

Mr Ndebele said information about the different options of public transport could be obtained from Find Your Way.

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