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August/September 2000

Transit Hits a Home Run At Pac Bell Park

A train and a ballpark

Patrick Runkle

It seemed a surefire recipe for traffic gridlock -- 41,000 fans headed for the inaugural baseball game at San Francisco's brand new Pacific Bell Park. But months of planning by a consortium of transit agencies, MTC and San Francisco Giants staff paid off handsomely. Beefed-up bus, rail and ferry service and a massive media blitz resulted in about half of all stadium-bound travelers taking public transit -- and not just for the first few games this past spring, but all season long.

Golden Gate Transit's special, direct ferry service from the Larkspur Terminal to the ballpark, for example, has proven so popular that ferry tickets routinely sell out several days in advance of games. Caltrain, the Peninsula commuter rail service, had expected to carry 4,000 riders per game, but has carried as many as 6,000. BART trains from the East Bay have been equally packed -- instead of an anticipated 3,000 fans on game days, 5,000 have chosen to ride the rails for some games.

Direct ferry service to Pac Bell Park was established not only by Golden Gate Transit but also by the Alameda/Oakland, Tiburon/Sausalito and Richmond ferry lines. In addition to boosting its light-rail service, San Francisco Muni launched a special Ballpark Express shuttle bus for fans taking BART.

MTC's TravInfo® traveler information number, 817-1717, added an option to its menu that allows callers to get personalized assistance in mapping out their transit routes to Pac Bell Park. In the first two months of its existence, the ballpark hotline received over 6,000 calls.

Fans also may call the number to order single copies of a pocket-sized transit brochure titled "Your Ticket Home," which includes maps, directions and relevant phone numbers. Over 50,000 of the accordion-folded publication were mailed to Giants season ticket holders and distributed at games.

"This has been a real opportunity for public transit to shine," said Ann Flemer, MTC's manager of Transit Coordination and Access. "We've shown people how well transit can work."
-- Réka Goode