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One Month In, Dodger Trolley a Success

By Eric Richardson
Published: Friday, August 29, 2008, at 03:58PM
Media Time Eric Richardson [Flickr]

One month ago, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Councilmembers Wendy Greuel and Ed Reyes talk to the media after getting off the first Dodger Trolley bus from Union Station to Dodger Stadium.

Just over one month ago, the Dodger Trolley kicked off service with a star-studded first run that included the Mayor and multiple city councilmembers. At launch, Dodger and city personnel said that they would be excited to see 1,000 fans per night taking the new shuttle service.

While they didn't quite hit that number, early turnouts have been impressive. High gas prices and new Dodger Manny Ramirez combined to push first-month ridership over 30,000 trips, according to a press release the team issued Friday. Assuming most people rode the bus round-trip, that would put the average ridership at just around 750 fans for each of the twenty home games played since service kicked off.

A previous service offered in 2004 only attracted 400 riders per night, and was offered only for Friday games. That service used a bus-only lane on Sunset Blvd, which was discontinued due to its impact on other traffic.

The trolley service launched with six buses, one small bus wrapped in Dodger Trolley colors and five white charters from Transit Systems. Recently that fleet has been changed, with school buses from First Student being added to the mix.

While fans have enjoyed the extra capacity, a recent Friday night trip showed some downsides to the use of non-transit buses. A lack of air conditioning wasn't the height of comfort while sitting in August heat while waiting to depart Union Station. More importantly, though, the school buses lack of any standing room capacity limited the capacity that the new buses could provide.

As of launch, the city was funding the 2008 service with $70,000 in funds that were allocated to LADOT's Charter Bus program. Inquiries as to whether the change in buses has changed this number were not returned as of the time of this story.

The city and the Dodgers hope to pursue advertising revenue for the 2009 season that would fund ongoing trolley service.

During the Dodgers upcoming homestand, Tommy Lasorda and former Dodgers will take to the shuttle, riding along with fans. The schedule features Rudy Law (Tuesday, Sept. 2), Kenny Landreaux (Wednesday, Sept. 3), Bobby Castillo (Friday, Sept. 5) and Lasorda (Sunday, Sept. 7).


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