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Metro Transit Crowded After U.S. Bank Stadium Opener

U.S. Bank Stadium, June 16, 2016

The U.S. Bank Stadium opener for a match between AC Milan and Chelsea brought in over 64,000 fans, many of which came by Metro Transit. As Metro Transit officials tried to adjust to the increased demand, many passengers felt shortchanged by the experience. 

Located in downtown Minneapolis, U.S. Bank Stadium is in a position to attract a good number of fans via Metro Transit. The stadium has its own stop for Green and Blue line trains, making it accessible to other attractions around downtown. Metro Transit got its first run at the stadium on Wednesday, and the experience for many riders turned out to be unpleasant. Long lines and overcrowded trains were reported, and Metro Transit acknowledged that it took 90 minutes to the clear the platform at the stadium.

In all, over 13,700 spectators arrived at U.S. Bank Stadium via Metro Transit. The experience provides a glimpse of what could come when the Minnesota Vikings begin playing the facility and, with that in mind, transit officials say that they will work on ironing the service for future events. More from the Star Tribune:

“The laws of physics tell you that you are not going to put 13,000 fans on trains and get them out of there in 10 minutes,” [Metro Transit spokesman Howie] Padilla said. “A few minutes can seem more than a few minutes in situations like this. But this was 13,000 more people not jammed in traffic or in parking ramps that got to their destination. That met our goal.”

Metro Transit prepared for the postmatch rush by adding eight extra trains and using every car in its fleet on both the Blue and Green lines. Most trains had three cars, but some had two, Padilla said.

 Metro Transit also added 18 buses to shuttle train riders back to park-and-ride lots, just as it does for Vikings games. But it appeared that some fans weren’t aware of the bus option.

Padilla talked about potentially having trains run closer together and providing better information, but it wasn’t clear how much wait times could be shortened.

The Star Tribune story also the issues relating to stadium concessions and overcrowded concourses, something that we discussed yesterday. Though the Vikings do not play their first preseason game until August 28, U.S. Bank Stadium will host two concerts between now and then, with Luke Bryan schedule for August 19, followed the next evening by Metallica. With two major acts on the way, it gives all of those involved the chance to fine tune the early fan experience at U.S. Bank Stadium.

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