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Despite Doubled Costs, City Says Dodger Trolley Service a Success

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, October 15, 2008, at 07:47AM
At the Stadium Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa exits the first Dodger Trolley bus with Councilmembers Wendy Greuel and Ed Reyes on July 25.

The city says that two months of service on the Dodger Trolley were a sucess -- so much so that the number of buses had to be almost doubled and costs rose from an estimated $70,000 to $120,000.

Of course, taxpaying Dodger fans likely won't mind the extra bill if the team can pull an unlikely comeback and return from its 3-1 hole against Philadelphia. Unless the team wins three straight, tonight will be the last day of service for the 2008 Trolley.

In a report to City Council, LADOT says that the shuttle service saw 45,063 boardings during the 32 regular season games it was in operation. Assuming fans rode round-trip, that gives an average of 704 riders per game. That's far higher ridership than a similar shuttle service saw in 2004, when the buses attracted only 400 fans per night. That service cost $3 per round trip and only ran on Friday evenings, but featured a dedicated lane between Union Station and the stadium.

The success of this year's Dodger Trolley service meant that an average of nine buses were needed each night, instead of the five that had been budgeted. That pushed regular season costs from $70,000 to $120,000. The Dodgers' postseason run added additional expense. At $3,750 per night, the additional four playoff games should add $15,000 to the program's cost. All costs for the service are being paid out of LADOT's charter bus program.

While the Dodgers have expressed no willingness to fund a similar service in 2009, the team has expressed a belief that advertising revenue can be secured to cover the cost.

Those lucky fans with tickets to tonight's NLCS Game 5 matchup against the Phillies can find the Trolley at Union Station, boarding to the south of the doors on the Alameda side of the station. From the Red Line or Metrolink, walk through the waiting area, out the front doors, and take a left. Buses run 90 minutes before game time, and continue for one hour after the last pitch.


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