After years of build-up, the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games are finally upon us.
But don’t make the mistake of thinking getting there will a regular trip by road or rail.
With the city hosting Queensland’s biggest ever sporting event, several changes have been made to the roads and the public transport system.
How can I drive there?
You can drive to one of 13 temporary park ‘n’ ride locations across the Gold Coast, Logan and Brisbane.
You have to pre-book a parking spot through the Games Journey Planner on the GC2018 app or website. It’s free to book for ticket holders.
Speeds are reduced and heavy traffic can be expected along sections of the M1 (Damien Larkins, ABC Local, Image digitally altered)
There is no spectator parking at or near competition venues.
If you’re travelling south from Brisbane, you will need to be prepared to face some heavy congestion along parts of the M1.
A State Government report found there will be a “very high crash risk” on both sides of the highway south of Mudgeeraba at exits 82 and 85, as traffic exceeds the motorway’s capacity.
Shuttle buses will then take spectators to competition venues.
Should I take public transport?
To avoid the traffic, organisers recommend taking public transport whenever possible.
The Games will place unprecedented demand on the Gold Coast transport network, with about six million extra trips expected during the competition period.
Gold Coast light rail will run 24 hours a day for the duration of the Games. (ABC News: Greg Nelson)
But Queensland Rail has not exactly been reliable over the past couple of years.
The new fleet of New Generation Rollingstock (NGR) trains have been plagued with problems, including their late delivery and issues with braking, air conditioning and disability access.
Eleven NGR trains are currently operational and will be used for the Games.
The 2016 “rail fail” prompted a major commission of inquiry, which found more drivers were needed to fix timetable problems across the south-east Queensland network.
To accommodate the influx of spectators, light rail will run 24 hours a day with a service every 7.5 minutes or better, 12 high-frequency Gold Coast bus routes will run every 15 minutes and Gold Coast train services will be tripled to run on average every 10 minutes.
Check out Translink’s updated Games timetable for details.
Public transport is only free for ticketed spectators on the day of your event. You will still have to pay for Brisbane Airtrain services.
What should I take?
When you arrive at a venue, you have to go through an airport-style security check.
On an average day, organisers hope you won’t be lining up to get in for more than 15 minutes, however it could take longer on finals days and for the opening and closing ceremonies.
Other than carrying the right event ticket for the right day, it’s essential to know what you can and can’t take with you. (Supplied)
To keep that waiting time to a minimum, make sure you know what you can and cannot take into a venue.
The most essential item you will need is the correct ticket. But there are several other things you might want to bring:
Soft bags such as handbags, medical bags and baby care bags are allowed as long as they are under 64 litres capacity (40cm x 40cm x 40cm).
Bags cannot have hard sides as they need to be able to fit under your seat
You can bring food that you make for yourself or your friends and family.
For example, sandwiches you make at home are fine, but 20 pizzas are not.
Water in a sealed clear bottle no bigger than 350 millilitres is allowed.
Or you can bring an empty clear bottle (big as you like, as long as it fits in your bag) that can be filled up at a water fountain in the stadium.
You can also bring in sealed soft drinks or juices, as long as they are in a clear bottle and less than 350ml.
Baby formula is also fine to take with you in a clear bottle.
Sunscreen (less than 250ml) is fine to bring in.
A camera is ok too, but you are not allowed to use the flash during competition.
What can’t I take?
There’s a long list of prohibited items that you won’t be allowed to bring inside a venue. They include:
- Any open beverage
- Aerosols, creams, medicines and gels more than 250ml
- Strobe lights or laser pointers
- Inappropriately messaged clothing, banners, posters or material
- Knives or weapons
- Any flag sticks or poles measuring over 1.5 metres in length and not made of soft plastic
If you are in any doubt, check out the full list of venue conditions.
These items may be taken into a venue but may not be used in any way that negatively impacts on the safety, security or comfort of others.
For example, if your umbrella or your ‘GO SALLY’ banner blocks the view of others, security can ask you to take it down.
A number of items cannot be used in viewing areas, including:
- Large photographic or broadcast equipment over 30cm in length, including tripods and “selfie sticks”
- Oversized hats
- Banners and flag poles
- Flags larger than 1.5 square metres
- Strollers or pushchairs (venues will have designated storage areas for these items)
- Personal mobility devices, mobility aids or wheelchairs cannot be taken into seating areas if you don’t have a ticket assigned to a wheelchair position or the device can easily be stored under your seat. Wheelchairs and aids can also be stored at venue spectator information points.
The odd shower or two is forecast for the opening ceremony day on Wednesday April 4. But the Bureau of Meteorology said there won’t be much in it.
There’ll be clouds about and heading for a top of 27 degrees Celsius on the Gold Coast, so bring a jacket if you’re a Queenslander.
Thursday is looking very similar with just the odd shower on the forecast. And then mostly fine on Friday and warming up to a top of 29.
Smoking is not permitted within any venue.
Your ticket is for one entry only, so you cannot leave the venue during competition and come back in unless in an emergency.
Medication is fine to bring into venues for personal use.
There will be quiet spaces for prayer inside venues.