Auckland Transport is urging Elton John concert-goers to drive or walk to Mt Smart Stadium on Friday and Saturday night, prompting people to express their dismay and disbelief at the organisation’s advice.
In a statement today, AT - the organisation that runs public transport in the city - said that the Penrose Train station will be closed on Friday due to the current stage of the Rail Network Rebuild and no trains will be running on Saturday.
“To take advantage of the generally low passenger numbers over the long weekend, Auckland’s rail network will be closed, meaning no trains will be running, on Saturday,” said AT.
On AT’s Facebook page, the organisation added: “Heading to see Elton John? Plan your journey in advance and travel early if you can. Driving to the concert is recommended, but if you can’t there are public transport options included in your concert ticket.”
One person on social media replied: “Lol. Where does everyone park? On the field? This is incompetent even by the usual standards.”
Another said they were ‘speechless at the incompetence’ of AT.
AT said 255 free car parks will be available at two local businesses from 4pm on the day of the concerts and will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
A further 506 free, non-time limited car parking is available on streets that are within a 2km walk from Mt Smart Stadium, AT said.
Up to 40,000 people are expected to pack out the stadium.
AT’s group manager for metro services Darek Koper said: “We are dedicated to running the best public transport network we can, but unfortunately with KiwiRail’s rail maintenance and project work this weekend there’s a big train sized gap in our network.”
Koper said At is asking Aucklanders to consider driving and walking if they can.
“For people who are unable to drive and walk to the concert we will be putting on free special event buses from the city centre, but capacity on these buses will be limited.
“As always, we’re encouraging people to plan ahead and travel early to make sure they don’t miss the beginning of the concert, especially since there’s no support act for Elton John.”
Gates at Mt Smart will open at 5.30pm, with Elton John himself due to start performing promptly at 7.30pm.
When does it start?
Gates open at 5.30pm, with Elton John himself to start performing promptly at 7.30pm - there are no supporting acts.He’ll play for three hours until 10.30pm.
What to bring - and what not to bring
Several items are not permitted inside the stadium, including backpacks or bags larger than 30cm high, 30cm wide, and 10cm deep. Professional cameras, cameras with a removable lens or cameras with a lens bigger than a standard watch face are not permitted - though you can bring a small personal camera and, of course, your phone.
You can’t bring in commercial or branded food or drinks, though you can bring small quantities of food prepared at home. You can bring either an empty plastic bottle without a lid or a sealed plastic bottle of water holding up to 750ml for refill at the free water stations in the venue.
Other forbidden items include dangerous goods, knives, tasers, fireworks, beach balls, beanbags, confetti, selfie sticks or chilly bins. Find a full list of what not to bring here.
And with wild weather looming, don’t forget your rain jacket or poncho, as well as something warm to wear on the walk back from the venue - just make sure you leave the umbrella at home.