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Monday, September 9, 2013

City to add more buses to keep up with demand for downtown gameday shuttle service

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If there is one thing Kansas University season ticket holder Paul Stevens has learned about Jayhawk football, it is that you don't want to be late for kickoff.

"At KU, sometimes the pre-game stuff is better than the game," Stevens said.

But Stevens and quite a few other people who relied on the shuttle service from downtown to Memorial Stadium were late for Saturday's season-opening contest, as ridership spiked with the opening of the city's new parking garage near Seventh and Vermont streets.

City officials on Monday said they're already drawing up a new game plan to serve riders for the Jayhawks' next home game on Sept. 21.

"We will put three more buses on the service for the next home game," said Robert Nugent, the city's transit administrator. "We'll get it fixed."

Stevens, a Lenexa resident and longtime KU season ticket holder, estimated that it took about an hour and 15 minutes to make the trip from Ninth and New Hampshire to the stadium. He said at the parking garage there was a line of people a half-block long on New Hampshire Street and it turned the corner and stretched for another quarter block on Ninth Street.

"We have been doing this for as many years as they have been offering it, and this was the first year there was a real line," Stevens said.

Nugent said about 2,000 people rode the shuttle service Saturday, an increase of 15 percent from last season's average. A portion of the increase can be attributed to the city opening its new parking garage near Seventh and Vermont streets and advertising it as a place to park and catch a gameday shuttle. But that likely wasn't the only factor in the increase, Nugent said.

"The new garage played a role, but the other thing is the popularity of the service is continuing to grow," Nugent said. "That's not a bad thing. People are realizing that it is free parking, and it is only a dollar to ride the bus there and back. I think most people are saying it is not worth driving around for a half-hour trying to find a place to park near the stadium."

In addition to increasing the number of buses to nine, up from six, Nugent said they'll assign specific buses to specific garages. That will cut down on the need for each bus to stop at each garage, he said.

Attendance for Saturday's game was 41,920, which is about 8,000 short of capacity.

Comments

Code_2008 7 years, 1 month ago

Considering the next game isn't for 2 weeks, maybe it'll just be cool enough for a lot of people to walk. An hour and fifteen minutes to ride a bus for a walk that can take 45 minutes and is healthy for people?

hawksquawk 7 years, 1 month ago

Better yet, why drive to Lawrence? Lenexa to Lawrence is a pretty manageable bike ride. Load up on good carbohydrates, drink plenty of cold water and spin the family down to Larryville. Not only are you living an active lifestyle, but you're also reducing your carbon footprint. Avoid alcohol while at the game - it is quite caloric and causes dehydration which is counterproductive to healthy metabolism. Bring organic, nutrient-packed leafy greens to eat with a good, lean protein such as tilapia. During the game, yell loudly and jump up-and-down constantly to burn extra calories. And, most importantly, don't forget to wear sunscreen - the benefits of sunscreen have been widely proven.

Displayhawk 7 years, 1 month ago

We parked at the Lied Center and walked to the stadium. If you cut through St. Lawrence Catholic Center you walk on top of the hill. The only real hill you have is just west of the stadium, and that you walk down before the game, and then back up after the game. Not a bad walk really, and plenty of parking at the Lied Center.

Michael Leiker 7 years, 1 month ago

City might want to wait until after the Rice game to decide if they will still need the extra buses.

nuleafjhawk 7 years, 1 month ago

Better yet, wait until the season's over. Or just stay home altogether. With the radio and TV off. What if you accidentally listened to a good play on the radio and it gave you a spark of hope? I don't see any reason for anyone to EVER waste at least 6 hours (less, if you leave at halftime, which would be my guess) of their life on stupid stuff like going to a football game.

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