Fan’s Corner: Euro 2024 and The Gelsenkirchen Public Transport Experience
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In the UK, we're used to being frustrated by trying to get from place to place. Besides London, barely any city has a functioning public transport system, and the national rail franchises are routinely failing.

So, I was looking forward to a trip to Germany, where everything's dead organised, it's easy to get around and all the trains run on time. Right? Things got off to a good start: getting a tap-poured pint on the high-speed train “Intercity Express” from Berlin to Bochum was a beautiful novelty for a visiting Brit. But it was downhill from there.

The England fans long and troubled day with public transportation in Gelsenkirchen started at the old Race Course where fans gathered for pre-game activities. © MOTION Magazine

Gelsenkirchen’s Euro 2024 Transportation Nightmare

The trams in Bochum and Gelsenkirchen are dated, slow and car traffic seems to be given priority over them. All pretty insufficient to handle an influx of tens of thousands of fans. Besides a few reps from England fans groups, there was no one around to tell fans where to go or what to do. So we joined others getting shunted to some knackered old racecourse.

Luckily, we got bored of that early enough to head back into the town centre. There seemed to be hardly any pubs and so it was an easy decision to get a tram to the stadium in plenty of time. We only managed a few stops before having to abandon one tram that broke down for another. Reading other people's experiences; getting stuck at the said racecourse, trams not showing up and utter confusion of which mode of transport to take - it's a wonder we made it to the ground at all.

After the match, we joined packs of thousand fans queuing for the trams. It was never really clear what the arrangement was so we had no option but to wait. And wait. And wait.

I think the worst of it was the lack of information or politeness. No announcements were made to say what was going on or to apologise. In fact, once we got to Bochum, the tram staff gave us some deliberately misleading instructions as we were made to get off the tram once again to hop on another with just four stops away from our destination. 

All of which made me glad the match was a one-off for me. Travelling around Germany for work in the following days, I quickly got used to the regular delays and cancellations on Deutsche Bahn. All very familiar stuff as a Brit and definitely enough to put a dampener on things if you were staying for the whole tournament.

As an Everton fan, my final reflection is that I'm relieved our new ground isn't an out-of-town bowl like the Veltins Arena. I don't have much faith in Merseyrail, but it's only a short walk from Bramley Moore into the city centre, which definitely beats fighting to get on to a tram and trying to negotiate a dual carriageway.

Photos courtesy of MOTION Magazine.