With Super Bowl LII less than three months away, planning is well in process, and one aspect of that planning—public light rail transit service—is causing something of a stir.
Metro Transit has indicated that Blue Line trains between the Mall of America and downtown Minneapolis will be restricted to those rider with tickets to the big game at U.S. Bank Stadium and a $30 light-rail “game-day pass.”
Green Line trains will run normally between Union Depot in St. Paul and Stadium Village in Minneapolis. West of Stadium Village, trains will carry only ticket holders to the stadium, and beyond.
Security screenings will be held at the Mall of America prior to boarding, as well as a Stadium Village checkpoint. Riders will then be able to head directly to the game with no further holdup.
“The safety of our customers, staff and fans drives everything we do,” Metro Transit said on its Facebook page. “As security needs related to the Super Bowl became apparent during planning, we decided to provide people without Super Bowl tickets a way to complete their trips without being delayed by security measures.”
Not everyone, however, is buying the safety-first justification. Metro Transit’s Facebook feed became festooned with remarks such as: “Why not the other way around? Instead of inconveniencing regular riders with slower buses, have all the rich football fans take buses and let us take the train like usual, just w/o stopping at the stadium?” and “Call this what it is: preferential treatment for the elite and a disregard for the residents who pay for this service daily and took a recent fare increase. Call Metro Transit, call the Mayor call your City Council member!”
The buses will run before, during and after the game until the light-rail trains are back on their regular schedules. The game starts at roughly 5:30 p.m. and will likely take at least three hours, not including extended postgame ceremonies.
No one has yet posited the impact should the Vikings make it all the way to the bowl game.