Soccer Hooligans Riding Gondolas

Post by Steven Dale

Guys like these, for example. CC image by flickr user Greg Robbins.

Recently I attended a public consultation for a proposed urban cable car. The system would would link a historic town centre with a nearby shopping complex and soccer stadium.

While everyone was generally quite positive, I was confronted with a question I’d never heard before:

Soccer stadia tend to attract soccer hooligans. What happens after the game lets out? What about soccer hooligans riding the gondolas? Isn’t that going to be a problem?

Generally speaking, I’ve heard just about every question you can think of about urban gondola systems, but this was entirely new to me. But it is, of course, a valid question that deserves to be addressed seriously.

What does one do about soccer hooligans riding the gondolas?

I have a few ideas about how to deal with the problem, but I’d rather throw this one out to our readership and see what they think.

How would you deal with the issue of soccer hooligans riding gondolas?

(Note: While I have no evidence to support this claim, I suspect this is the only time in human history where someone has written the phrase “soccer hooligans riding gondolas.” If you have evidence to the contrary, please provide it in the comments below.) 

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  1. Strap them down to the floors or close the system completely.
  2. not putting fans from opposing teams together in cabins would at least hopefully keep some peace, but it won't solve everything
  3. Is this an issue in North America or just overseas? It seems we're not passionate enough about the rest of the world's version of "football" here as they are. If a sports stadium can be utilized to have far more events per year, like a convention center... then I think either type of facility would be very well served by the attributes of a gondola system.
  4. Christian Harrison
    Scott: I really haven't heard of any sort of hooliganism problem associated with soccer in the US. We occasionally have problems after championship games in football. But there you go. Steven: I think the first place to stop is finding out how bus agencies handle the issue. It sounds like a red herring — but start with bus transit. I'd also look into whether hooliganism has been any sort of problem in the City where the question was raised.
  5. A closed circuit camera system could act as a deterrent to violence and vandalism. This is simply a band aid solution as it does nothing to address the cause of violence and it would be an added cost to the system. However, technology is continuously reducing in cost and the value of such a proposal would be realized in accountability and perceived protection.
  6. Simple. Don't let intoxicated people get on.
  7. Do it similar to the installation in London - install a CCTV camera (both, station and gondola). Otherwise the organiser shall be responsible for any damages caused by hooligans (as it is the case in many central European countries). Additional personell might be another alternative - one in entry zone, one in disembarkment zone => check cabin.
  8. How coped Vancouver transit with Stanley Cup aftermath?
  9. Legitimate point, Giorgio.
  10. Hooliganism certainly is a problem in Europe, particularly in the UK and particularly when it comes to football (or soccer for those over the pond). Personally, I don't see how people can get quite so fired up over a sport and very often they simply don't; in many instances it is simply an excuse for mindless violence and vandalism. The situation is more often than not fuelled by alcohol. An example of this was on 25 August 2012 after a football match in the English city of Sheffield between Millwall and Sheffield Wednesday when two 'Supertrams' were vandalised, resulting in broken doors and windows. Four people were arrested as a result which possibly suggests the presence of a closed circuit camera system, or a quick response from the police. Whether the transport infrastructure consists of trains, trams, buses or even gondolas, such systems are under threat from mindless, intoxicated yobs. The use of a deterrent requires that the offender is compos mentis enough to understand the consequences of their actions and therefore choose not to act. I do not think this is the case when people have drunk sufficient quantities of alcohol. The power of reason goes out of the window. Therefore, I would suggest that deterrence is ineffective in this situation. However, cameras would possibly provide a deterrent in less extreme situations and would certainly allow the authorities to pursue the offenders with prosecution. This, however, does not protect the gondola. Short of equipping the gondolas with a retractable floor which can be operated by the camera operative, thus ejecting the offenders from the gondola, I am not sure how such a problem can be altogether prevented. Perhaps the use of a loudspeaker within the gondola when offenders are caught in the act would be enough to shock them into ceasing and desisting. This would obviously require the presence of cameras and continuous monitoring of the displays.
  11. Airlines recognise that it better to deal with the problems of anti social behaviour before passengers board their aircraft - hence anybody who is obviously intoxicated is not allowed to board. The last line of defence is the boarding marshals A question for those with a broader range of experience - is the consumption of food and drink on board gondolas routinely prohibited?
  12. This would indeed be an option but I can see a couple of problems with such a stance. In the case of airlines intoxicated people tend to be isolated instances - perhaps one or two people travelling together. However, in the case of a crowd leaving a football match the number of intoxicated people is potentially far greater. What is more, a mob mentality tends to pervade. As a result preventing access to a large mob of intoxicated people is inevitably going to result in trouble. Therefore, a significant security presence would be required to enforce the prohibition. Whereas significant security assets tend to be on hand in an airport, this is not the case in and around a gondola system. They could however be drafted specifically for such events In answer to your question, the consumption of food and drink is not routinely prohibited on aboard gondolas - none that I have travelled on anyway.
  13. How about what they covered in the post about women and public transit, i.e. single group gondolas. If it is a smallish gondola anyway (approx. 10 pax) it won't be a huge loss of capacity and it would effectively prevent fight from breaking out inside the gondolas. You would be able to prevent the vandalism but if you have attendants helping offload people anyway and extra police presence in the station if there is any vandalism they could be arrested as soon as they stepped off the gondola. This combined with CCTV ought to be pretty effective.
  14. Perhaps more police or "bouncers" on key games will reduce the mayhem. Some of the clubs around here have guys outside the bars that are so big I don't think anyone would mess with them. Might need a car with a weight rating higher than an MDG tho, lol. But at the end of they day I do believe concerns like this are indeed more of the "red herring" variety. They can all be answered but if too much time is spent on them, it takes us "off topic" of what is really important - which is educating the public on how (in the right applications) gondolas can be excellent at getting more people moving rapidly, quietly, safely, dependably and in a manner which typical transportation simply can't. All in a unique and compelling manner.
  15. Matt the Engineer
    I think it's important to tolerate drunk passengers in transit. If someone goes out to a bar I'd much rather they use transit to get home than drive. Most cities have some measure at which you're too drunk to be in public at all - that's a fine line to keep people from riding, and you might as well call the police at that point.
  16. Matt the Engineer
    I think Eric has it. How do we deal with soccer hooligans in elevators? We don't ride with them. How about on subway trains? I'd probably change cars. How about walking down the street? I'd probably cross to the other side. They're not worth dealing with until they've done something illegal. Otherwise, just give them their own car and leave them alone. If they do something illegal in the stations, call the police. If cabins are consistently vandalized, install cameras and have police waiting for them when they land.

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