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Dodger Stadium Express Begins April 1

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Tuesday, March 23, 2010, at 11:55AM
Dodger Express Check LA Dodgers/Juan Ocampo

Councilman Eric Garcetti, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt, County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, Metro Board Chairman Ara Najarian and Councilman Ed Reyes pose with a check to cover Dodger Stadium transit service.

True Blue fans will ride again, thanks to some extra green.

County clean air funds will pay for a Dodger Stadium Express bus shuttle service that will start carrying baseball fans to the stadium from Union Station as of April 1, when the team plays a preseason game against the Cleveland Indians.

While the team touts the service as a first step toward consistent public transit into Dodger Stadium, it remains to be seen whether funding issues will again make the line a one-time try.

The $300,000 grant is funded by a portion of vehicle registration fees set aside for projects that promote emission reductions.

Fans carrying a game ticket will be able to ride for free, with buses leaving Union Station's Patsaouras Bus Plaza every ten minutes before and after the game and every 30 minutes throughout. Service starts 90 minutes before the first pitch and will run 45 minutes after the game ends.

Passengers will be dropped off and picked up in the parking lot behind left/center field. Those without a ticket can pay Metro's standard $1.25 fare to ride.

A press conference and check presentation on Monday provided an opportunity for green-talk from elected officials. "Dodger fans across the county can now avoid the traffic, save gas and help improve air quality by using public transit and our new Dodger Stadium Express bus to get to the game," said County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, South Coast Air Quality Management District representative on the committee that issued the grant.

"With the vast network of rail and buses serving Union Station, this just makes perfect sense to provide this link to encourage the use of public transit as an alternative to driving,” said Ara Najarian, Chair of the Metro Board of Directors in a statement.

Dodger owner Frank McCourt said that he hopes the service is a sign of things to come. "This new program is a tremendous first step in creating meaningful public transit between Dodger Stadium and the surrounding communities," he said.

A similar first step was taken in 2008 when the City of Los Angeles funded a shuttle over the last two months of the season. That service failed to return in 2009 when the city declined to continue to foot the bill and the team refused to pay into transit service.

The 2010 service is also a one-year demonstration project budgeted to pay for preseason and regular-season games, and new funding would need to be secured for additional years. While the team and Metro promise to explore future funding, that's a story that fans have heard before.

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