VTA Prepares Robust Plan for Levi's Stadium Service2/10/2014 1:49 PM |
How is VTA preparing to get people to and from Levi’s Stadium for 49ers games, entertainment events and the Super Bowl in 2016?
VTA is developing a robust plan for getting fans to and from all events at Levi's Stadium, including the Super Bowl in 2016. We’re learning from other agencies' experiences, as well as our own years of experience moving people to and from SAP Center and other major events. Our goal is to provide the best customer experience possible.
When Levi’s begins hosting 49ers games and other events this summer, VTA will be ready. We'll continually make responsive service adjustments throughout the year and then in 2015 we’ll start ramping it up for the Super Bowl in partnership with the San Francisco Super Bowl Host Committee.
The stadium holds 68,500 people, and VTA expects to carry over 10,000 people to each 49ers game with a combination of light rail and bus service, as well as promotion and utilization of VTA park and ride lots to encourage public transit use. Our normal Sunday light rail service carries about 16,000 people, so we will be deploying more buses, trains and staff to meet the extra demands.
Board Chairperson Ash Kalra and General Manager Nuria Fernandez have identified Levi’s Stadium service as one of VTA’s five top priorities in 2014. VTA will show the valuable contribution public transit plays in moving large crowds safely and efficiently. Fernandez also appointed an experienced operations manager with a proven track record managing large transit projects to lead the agency-wide planning effort.
The Board of Directors also created a Levi’s Stadium Transit Program Committee to focus on transit service to the stadium. It’s chaired by Chairperson Kalra and includes directors Gail Price, Jamie Matthews, and Margaret Abe-Koga. Its first meeting is on Feb 26 at 10 a.m. and is open to the public.
That Committee will review and guide our strategy, which involves construction of new facilities, ample light rail and bus service, park and ride lots, promoting Clipper and mobile ticketing, and real-time social media updates to keep fans informed.
VTA is beginning work on the Santa Clara Pocket Track, a new segment of rail on Tasman Drive just west of the stadium between the Reamwood and Old Ironsides light rail stations. It will allow us to store extra trains so they’re ready to roll when games end. The pocket track was planned to support increased ridership when VTA’s BART extension opens by 2018, but we accelerated the timeline to prepare for the stadium opening.
The Santa Clara Stadium Authority is also expanding the Great America light rail station, just steps from the stadium entrance. They’re building a new platform that will allow us to board and deboard people faster and separate east and west-bound passengers. The authority is also adding a pedestrian crossing and fencing along the tracks near the stadium entrance so people can safely cross VTA’s light rail tracks to access parking and other transit services such as ACE and Capitol Corridor trains.
VTA’s full light rail deployment can carry up to 12,000 passengers, with three-car trains holding up to 450 people each. We will also be putting ample bus service on the road. We’ll have direct buses after events to some park and ride lots to augment light rail service, as well as Express Bus service to and from the Fremont BART station. We’ll also be supplementing regular bus service to the stadium on lines 55, 57 and 60.
In case there are any disruptions or our light rail exceeds capacity, we’ll have plenty of buses on standby to fill in at a moment’s notice and zip passengers to Levi’s Stadium. The 49ers will also be running bus service to the stadium, and we’re integrating our plans with theirs.
We’re also working closely with Caltrain and BART to ensure that our service connects seamlessly to theirs for fans coming in from San Francisco, the Peninsula, and the East Bay.
Park & Ride Lots
VTA has 38 park and ride lots throughout the county that we expect will be heavily utilized. We may charge for parking at some of these lots in order to cover the cost of providing enhanced security and ambassadors during events. Our private security contractor and ambassadors at the Park & Ride lots will ensure event attendees find their way to the stadium swiftly and their vehicles are secure while they’re away.
Clipper and Mobile Ticketing
While game and event attendees may trickle into the stadium over the span of several hours, they will all want to leave at once. We’ll speed up the boarding process by encouraging everyone to use Clipper cards, the quick and easy electronic fare system used by transit agencies throughout the Bay Area.
We’re also looking into implementing a mobile ticketing smartphone app for major special events like those at Levi’s, based on the success of similar apps in other cities. This would allow attendees to buy a day pass to get to and from the game whenever and wherever they want. They would activate it before heading to the game and then show the operator or fare inspector a visual validation on their mobile device screen when requested. VTA will continue to look for technology-based solutions to make using our services as easy as possible.
Basically, we’re putting every resource and creative idea we have behind Levi’s Stadium service, and we’re interested in any creative ideas you may have.
Do you have any other ideas you think we should consider?