April 23, 2014

Dodgers, City Team up to Offer Bus Service to Dodger Games

Santa Monica City Bus
Bill Shaikin wrote an interesting article in the Times on a recent result of the energy crisis – the L.A. City Council and the Dodgers have teamed up to offer bus service from Union Station to Dodger Stadium on game days.

Under the proposed plan, which would go into effect after the all-star game in July, the city would spend roughly $70,000 to support the service through surplus funds (I didn’t realize any California municipality had any of those) with the Dodgers responsible for marketing the service to its patrons. My guess is the city and Dodgers both figure that the people riding the shuttle would likely not attend games otherwise due to gas and parking charges, which significantly raise the price of an evening at the ballpark. If so, it’s a smart PR move that keeps a certain segment of fans coming to the ballpark while (hopefully) generating income for the Dodgers and the city through ticket and food sales.

Official documents shot that shuttles would run from Union Station, with two stops along Sunset Boulevard, enabling riders to connect from Amtrak, Metrolink, the downtown DASH shuttle and several city bus lines. The estimated ride time from Union Station would be 16 to 19 minutes and seems very well thought out – the bulk of riders could actually ride the shuttle without having to actually drive to Union Station!

No fee has yet been set for the shuttle, but talk is that there would be a nominal charge to ride the shuttle. If shuttles had some kind of “express” entrance and exit from Chavez Ravine, bypassing the usual lines at the parking gates, that could be a further incentive to those looking to skip the endless idling that often accompanies a trip to the stadium. No details on the setup at Dodger Stadium so far, however.

Shaikin cited some interesting facts in his article, including:
- There was a city bus line that ran directly to Dodger Stadium from 1962 to 1994, but the route was eventually cut amid budget constraints and declining ridership.
- The Dodgers tried supporting a shuttle after the demise of the bus line in 1994 for Friday night games (ironically using the same route that has now been proposed) but discontinued the route after it garnered only 400 or so riders per game.

So, can $4.50 gas and pricey parking at Dodger Stadium revive the bus to Dodger Games?