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  • PyeongChang 2018 Scraps Athletes Rail Plan


    (ATR) Athletes will no longer travel by high speed rail to PyeongChang from Incheon international airport, organizing committee president Hee Beom Lee says.

    PyeongChang 2018 President Hee Beom Lee presents to ANOC. (ATR)
    In a presentation to the ANOC General Assembly in Prague Lee said that “open and honest” dialogue from the world’s NOCs led to the change.

    Lee had previously said in February organizers expected athletes to use the newly constructed high speed rail to the Olympic Villages even if it could not handle winter sports equipment or luggage.

    “We have listened to NOCs concerns and requests,” Lee said to the 205 NOCs in attendance. “Athletes will travel on direct bus services from airport to villages, with bags in logistics trucks.”

    PyeongChang 2018 spokesperson Nancy Park told Around the Rings the decision to switch logistics plans came after the final IOC Coordination Commission meeting and input from NOCs. A number of transport options were considered such as the high speed rail, buses, and even chartered flights direct to Gangneung. Bus transport was pushed to organizers after athletes appealed to NOCs to travel to the villages with their gear.

    “[PyeongChang 2018] policy is for everyone to use the high speed train,” Park said. “Even if it takes more time [athletes] would rather have the ease of mind to have the equipment going with the buses.”

    The newly tested KTX high speed rail line from Incheon and Seoul to Gangneung will open to the public in December. During the Olympics the train will travel 52 times a day, each with a capacity of 410 passengers. However, at peak travel times Incheon airport can receive up to 12,000 passengers per hour. One way tickets from Incheon Airport to Gangneung is priced at $38, while a ticket from Seoul to Gangneung is priced at $24.

    Presales for KTX tickets for authorized ticket resellers will finally go on sale in the coming days, Around the Rings has learned. Resellers have around one week to submit ticket pre-sale requests leading to some frustration. Park said that Korea Rail continues to sort out pre-sale dates, as there are different arrival windows for athletes, families, and fans. So far all hospitality packages sold with accommodations outside of Alpensia and Gangneung have not included rail tickets.

    “They are trying to get that open and make it a more advanced date and they want people to book as soon as possible,” Park said.

    Ticket sales for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics have been sluggish. So far only 32 percent of total tickets for the 2018 Olympic have been sold, with less than 100 days to go until the start of the Games. The numbers are even starker for the 2018 Paralympic Games with only 9,401 total tickets being sold, just over four percent of tickets available. Individual sales for the Paralympics have not even eclipsed 500 tickets sold according to the latest figures given.

    Despite this, Lee assured the world’s NOCs that organizers are “committed to having full stadiums” for the Games. Lee did not elaborate on how that would be achieved, but said “we will deliver a more client-friendly ticketing program” for athletes and families.

    Written by Aaron Bauer in Prague

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