February 12, 2018 / 11:05 AM / a year ago

Olympics: Games organizers throw $2.8 million to fix transport problems

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) - The organizers of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics said on Monday they would spend an additional 3 billion won ($2.77 million) in a bid to solve transport problems at the Games.

Ice Hockey – Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Women Preliminary Round Match - Switzerland v Japan - Kwandong Hockey Centre, Gangneung, South Korea – February 12, 2018 - Fans take selfies before game start. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor

Director General of Transportation for POCOG Kang Hee-up told reporters that the demands placed on the bus system outweighed the resources.

“We have thoroughly prepared the transport system but it is true that there are some problems as we are operating them and implementing the plans on site. And I would like to apologize,” Kang said.

“Allow me to say this. We have limited resources and there were also the mountainous areas here in Pyeongchang and the shortage of infrastructure in this region was all of the factors we had to deal with.

“We have prepared accordingly but now as we are operating on site, some of our plans are going over our capacity so as we have mentioned we have the Games to come, we are going to make the utmost effort such as increasing the resources so that we can satisfy all the clients.”

Following a series of delays for passengers and complaints to an inundated hotline, organizers confirmed that POCOG would increase their budget to hire more buses and drivers to meet the demand.

Not only are there 2952 athletes to accommodate, there are also 13000 media and a 55,000-strong workforce with some living more than 90 minutes away from the Main Press Centre (MPC), which is the primary transport hub.

The work force is split into 81 different accommodation venues which provides an extra logistical strain.

What has made the problems worse is the cold weather with temperatures dropping to -23 degrees Celsius on some evenings leading to more demand on the bus system.

POCOG currently has 1800 buses and the head of the Transport Services Team, Jungnam Kim, said they would need a little over 10 percent more in order to meet the demand.

The transport team could not confirm on Monday when the extra 10 percent would be available, as they would need to bring extra drivers in from all around the country. The Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games runs until February 25.

($1 = 1,082.58 won)

Editing by: Amlan Chakraborty

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