COTA blames GPS app issues for traffic trouble at Rolling Stones concert
AUSTIN, Texas - While thousands of people were inside the Circuits of the Americas watching the Rolling Stones perform Saturday night, thousands more were outside the venue stuck in traffic trying to make it in.
"I love the Rolling Stones, but it was just a bad experience," said Mark Balderson from Spring.
Fans say they were stuck on the roads around COTA such as Elroy Road and Pearce Lane for hours trying to make it to the venue.
"Our hotel was 10 miles away and it took us two and a half hours to get there. There was no adequate driving to get to this venue. I think there were three entryways that all had two lanes each for 1000s and 1000s of people," said Brandon Van Metre from Colorado.
Traffic was so horrible fans say they were at a standstill most of the time. "[It was] just red taillights, and then I went down further to Elroy and just a sea of [even more] red taillights," said Heather Norman from Manor.
Other fans said they had to make the tough decision to turn around and go home even though they had tickets. "We made a decision at about 8:30 [to go home]. I don't think we would have even seen the last song at that point which I think I heard was around 11 o'clock," said Norman.
The fans that did make it inside said it was overcrowded and hard to navigate to their ticketed area.
By the time Alison Carlton and her husband made it in, the show was more than halfway through.
"[We] enjoyed what we could obviously. It was so crowded and you're standing on the side of a hill, so we viewed most of [the concert] on the video screens. We couldn't really see anything," said Alison Carlton from Austin.
Van Metre was at the concert with mom. They came from Colorado just to see the Rolling Stones in concert. He admits the music was great. "They are amazing. It's insane how good of a frontman Mick Jagger is at 78 years old," he said.
However, Van Metre said leaving the concert was just another nightmare. He says he and his mom had to walk back to their car because of the lack of bus shuttles, and, at one point, he and his mom had to climb over a gate just to get out.
"We literally all had to lift my mother over this gate and some other girl who had just had surgery on her foot or something. We had to help her over," he said.
Fans agree that they will not be going back to COTA unless the parking situation is fixed or the road around the venue is widened.
"That was just absolutely atrocious, and for all those kids out there that went with your parents, because your parents wanted you to see the Rolling Stones, I'm sorry because it really was a letdown," said Carlton.
COTA released the following statement:
COTA itself is a small group of caring people who want to provide happiness and good memories, not frustration. To host large events, the team hires, and must rely upon, outside staffing companies to provide mobility-assisted services, parking attendants, food vendors, ushers, and cleaning staff. Those organizations, not unlike most, have reported that hiring has been incredibly difficult lately, and we appreciate everyone who did their best to make The Rolling Stones concert a great experience.
Last night, a widely used GPS traffic app incorrectly displayed a major open road as being closed and further displayed a private driveway as being an open road. Thousands of cars were wrongly directed, thereby turning heavy traffic into a mess.
We encourage Capital Metro and elected officials to heed the calls of our Councilwoman and County Commissioner when they say the residents and businesses in the southeast corridor are underserved. Public transportation, streetlights, improved roads, and sidewalks are badly needed.
Additionally, we understand the mobility-assist partners found themselves overwhelmed with demand. An epic, multi-generational band like The Rolling Stones required a lot of patience, and we appreciate those understanding fans who recognize the challenges our provider partners faced.
We call upon Cap Metro to support the Del Valle neighborhood residents, businesses, and visitors. We further thank all the fans who endured the complications and hope you enjoyed the concert of a lifetime.
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