Dodgers, city offer free trolley service

Dodgers, city offer free trolley service

LOS ANGELES -- Before Friday, getting to Dodger Stadium was anything but cheap and easy, with fans having to wade through Los Angeles traffic across jam-packed freeways in a gas-guzzling car, only to pay $15 for parking once they arrived.

The Dodgers and the City of Los Angeles expect to simplify that process by offering a free shuttle between Union Station and Dodger Stadium on games days, with Friday being the first day of service.

"We're really excited that at this time of high gas prices when people are struggling with the cost of gas that the Dodgers and the City of Los Angeles have provided an opportunity to get people on the bus, on a trolley, give an opportunity to beat the traffic, beat the high gas prices and very importantly get to a Dodger game and eat a Dodger Dog," Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said outside Dodger Stadium after taking the first trolley with fellow governmental leaders.

Fans can take various rail and bus services to Union Station at a fraction of the cost of what they would pay in gas and parking fees.

Trolleys run every 10 minutes before and after the game starting 90 minutes before first pitch and ending an hour after the game ends. Riders will be dropped off and picked up outside Lot G near Autograph Alley behind the pavilions at Dodger Stadium.

"This is a first step in a much larger effort to provide public transit options to Dodger Stadium, and I want to thank the city officials for their leadership," Dodgers owner Frank McCourt said in a press release. "As we all do our part to help protect our environment, it is critical that we find ways to help people get to where they want to go, including Dodger Stadium."

The shuttle route of less than two miles will connect with regional public transportation, including the MTA Red, Purple and Gold lines as well as the Metrolink and Amtrak services available on game day.

It will make two stops along Sunset Boulevard. The first at Figueroa Street will connect with MTA lines 2, 4, 55, 60; metro limited lines 302, 304 and 355; and metro rapid line 704 for passengers on LADOT's DASH Lincoln Heights/Chinatown service. The second at Marion Avenue will connect with MTA lines 2 and 4.

City officials expect the service to cost $70,000 this year and about double next year when it runs from the start of the season.

"For the longest time people have asked, 'How come we don't have a subway or a light rail line to Dodger Stadium?' " Villaraigosa said. "It's a good question, it's something that should have been built a long time ago, but now we can say we have free public transportation from Union Station.

"It's a good way of thinking blue and acting green, a great way to avoid high gas prices, the traffic and gridlock and more importantly see a great game, a Dodger win, eat a Dodger Dog, go home and not have to hassle with traffic."

Villaraigosa, who said he hopes about 1,000 fans per night use the shuttle, added the free shuttle is an opportunity for the city to start thinking about the need for public transportation and making "serious investments" in that area.

Wendy Greuel, a Los Angeles City Councilwoman and chair of the city's transportation committee, took the subway on Friday from the San Fernando Valley in Universal Valley with a number of fans.

"This is a great day where we can say, 'You can use public transportation to the get to the Dodgers, support our Dodger Blue and reduce our traffic on the freeways in Los Angeles,' " she said.

Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.