No cars near S.Africa's World Cup stadiums: official

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Private cars will be blocked from World Cup stadiums, forcing fans to use shuttles to ease traffic, Johannesburg officials said Friday, after bottlenecks marred dress rehearsal matches.

Highways leading to the 94,700-seat Soccer City, venue for the opening and closing matches, were jammed with cars Thursday as fans made their way to the friendly between the national team and Colombia.

Traffic stretched for over five kilometres (three miles), in a country where private cars are the preferred mode of transport.

"This won't be seen during the World Cup," said Sibongile Mazibuko, who heads the city's World Cup projects.

"Our park-and-ride facilities around the city will help reduce congestion around the stadium precinct as per FIFA regulations," she said.

An 800-metre (half-mile) security perimeter around the stadiums will allow only special vehicles, park-and-ride buses, and pedestrians to enter, she said.

"The park-and-ride buses will start operating during the pre kickoff concert in Soweto to the last day of the games," said Mazibuko.

The system was first introduced during the curtainraiser FIFA Confederations Cup last year, when the system got off to a rocky start as bus drivers were confused about the routes and battled to get fans to and from the stadiums on time.