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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.

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August 13, 2008 1:16 PM

Seahawks transportation plans Bus-ted

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Here's an announcement from the team regarding game-day bus service that was available last season, but won't be this upcoming season. The team's release, which is copied below, explains it:

KIRKLAND, WASH. - Seahawks fans that normally use King County Metro Transit’s Seahawks game day bus service from park-and-ride lots will need to secure alternate transportation to the preseason games, the team announced today.

This past April, the Federal Transit Administration ruled that if any private bus operators are interested in providing game day transportation services for fans then Metro would not be permitted to operate the bus service. The Seahawks were obligated to negotiate with those charter bus companies.

The Seahawks received one bid which included an increase in passenger fares by $14. In addition, the bid did not include approvals to use roadways, park-and-ride lots and staging areas that are necessary to operate the service safely and effectively.

“We are very disappointed,” said Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke. “We have made the game day experience one of our highest priorities. The bid we received did not address our requirements for a safe, effective or reliable bus plan. We will continue to work toward a resolution to meet the needs of our fans.”

For those impacted fans, the Seahawks recommend using regular Metro service, Sound Transit ST Express buses and the Sounder Train. ST Express buses offer transportation from areas throughout Pierce, King and Snohomish counties with service every 30 minutes and stops within three blocks of Qwest Field.

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Posted by James

1:58 PM, Aug 13, 2008

What a freakin joke! Using the bus was a great way to get down to the game and meet up with friends who had arrived earlier to tailgate! With the insane gas prices and parking costs this was purely motivated by money, the FTA can shove it. Is there anyway they could get a waiver? I guess the free ride home program is going to be overwhelmed!

Posted by tlingithawk

2:10 PM, Aug 13, 2008

another reason why i can't stand many of the policies from the bush admin.

Posted by Jeff

2:15 PM, Aug 13, 2008

Metro busses are now full with regular passengers and now Seahawks fans are expected to use that service. Good luck with that idea. Bus stops will be jammed and it could get interesting as people try to board busses that will full to the doors.

Just another example of the federal government messing up a great service with no good alternative service being provided.

I am also wondering if Mayor Nickels is aware of this because this change will force many fans to drive to the games instead of using transit which goes against what he has been preaching about using cars less.

Posted by ursa minor

2:17 PM, Aug 13, 2008

Excuse me for posting from 'socialist' Canada, but let me get this right: Your Federal Government is telling a local transit service, paid for by local taxpayers that they can't continue a service for local football fans that they've been provding for years?

That's not government run like a business, that's government run by business.

Posted by Keith

2:51 PM, Aug 13, 2008

Yea this happened a few months ago for the Orioles buses in Baltimore. It is a big pain to get to and from games without it. Have to drive out to the light-rail just to get down to the city now.

Posted by Joe Renton

3:23 PM, Aug 13, 2008

And why again should tax dollars be sent to drive fans to and from Seahawks games? If you want to go to the game, get your own transportation and stop mooching off the tax payers.

Posted by Backpacker

3:33 PM, Aug 13, 2008

The buses aren't provided free. Rides to the Seahawks game cost more than a regular fare. It is not mooching off the taxpayers at all. It keeps the cars of 65,000 fans off the streets and highways that cannot handle that much traffic at one time. Not to mention keeping several thousand intoxicated fans off the roads.

Posted by Joe Renton

3:46 PM, Aug 13, 2008

If the market rate is $14 more than the Metro rate, who do you think is making up the difference? It's not cheaper for the Metro to do it than a private company. (Quite to the contrary probably.) If Metro charges less it's because government pays the rest. Get yourself to the game on your own and top being a mooch.

Posted by BC

4:29 PM, Aug 13, 2008

They got one bid. How does that establish the market rate? If one mechanic told you that an oil change would cost $129, would you assume that was the market rate?

Realistically, for a private company to commit the amount of resources needed to perform this service over the area it currently serves for a very limited number of dates, they'd need to charge a healthy margin in order for it to make business sense. Metro doesn't need to make a sizable profit on this service and they already have the infrastructure in place to handle the job, which I'm sure accounts for a great deal of the price difference.

What really bothers me about this, though, is that there's a local agreement that all sides seem happy with (fans, Metro, the Seahawks), but the federal government's stepping and putting a stop to it.

Posted by McDawg

6:42 PM, Aug 13, 2008

Hi Joe Renton

Do you truly believe there is a private carrier that can provide the economy of scale that Metro can??? Expecting a private carrier to match Metro's fare is like asking Cessna to build a 747 at the same price Boeing can.

But I am sure that you understand that at least intuitively....Do you have a hidden agenda perhaps??

Posted by Jeff

6:53 PM, Aug 13, 2008

Organizations like the Seahawks, Mariners, Huskies, Bite of Seattle and other groups that put on large affairs/ celebrations have paid a fee to Metro to provice the park and ride bus service. With those fees and what the riders paid to ride, the servic did not cost any taxpayers money.

Posted by Joe Renton

11:43 PM, Aug 13, 2008

Agenda? Yeah, I don't think it's government's duty to provide transportation services. And if the city or state doesn't want the federal government telling it what to do with its buses, then stop accepting federal transportation money. Also, to Jeff, you are wrong. The Seahawks and King County pay the costs. Seahawks fees and user fees don't cover the total cost. King County picks up the rest.

Posted by Ian

12:03 AM, Aug 14, 2008

I totally agree that Metro buses are going to be jammed if Seahawk fans start rding them too. The service to Seahawk games was excellent and easy. Ridiculous to think all the problems caused by having no service. Jammed Metro buses and more cars than ever trying to park around the Stadium. I hope some solution can be reached before the start of the regular season games.

Posted by No.12

4:41 AM, Aug 14, 2008

Regular Metro busses jammed on a Sunday?

Metro Park & Ride shuttled delivering drunk fans to their cars are keeping them off the road?

The same Metro Park & Ride shuttle that will strand you at the game if snow flurries start to fall?

A government initiative to open special event charter bus business to private charter service bus companies, because otherwise they wouldn't be able to compete with government subsidized Metro (sounds like Boeing vs Airbus, right?).

Posted by MrSeahawks

12:00 PM, Aug 14, 2008

This is total BS! I pay taxes and should be able to use the pre-existing transportation to the hawks games. Oh well, the liberal penny pinchers win one. At least the hawks will win more then them! Oh and remember to thank our governer for that wonderful gas tax in the middle of a gas crisis!

Posted by The Centerfield Bum

12:01 PM, Aug 14, 2008

Since riding a bus from a local park and ride lot to alocal public facility (Qwest Field) does not involve interstate commerce, then the Federal government really does not have any jurisdiction in the matter.

Either the Seahawks, King County or Metro might want to consider challenging the Constitutionality of the Federal Transit Administrations regulation of this matter.

Posted by IlikeIce

1:44 PM, Aug 14, 2008

Mr. Seahawks,
The FTA is operating under a Republican Administration that heavily favors small business and privatization over public favors. The liberal penny pinchers (of WA) you blame have spent quite abit of money , but the problem is the Federal Level FTA. If anything, blame them and the rules.
Since we all agree (minus Joe Renton) that this is insane regardless of party, lets get back to either solutions or even better Seahawk Football, which is supposed to help us forget about politics!

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