Su­per Bowl will limit LRT ac­cess

Only ticket hold­ers can board on game day; all oth­ers must ride buses.

Star Tribune - - MINNESOTA - By ROCHELLE OLSON and PAT PHEIFER Star Tri­bune staff writ­ers

If you’re headed to wor­ship, work or play on Su­per Bowl Sun­day, don’t count on tak­ing a light-rail train to get there.

Blue Line trains be­tween Mall of Amer­ica and down­town Min­neapo­lis will be re­stricted to those with tick­ets to the 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.

Ticket hold­ers and the trains will un­dergo se­cu­rity screen­ings at Mall of Amer­ica and a Sta­dium Vil­lage check­point. Train rid­ers will go with­out stop­ping to the foot­ball sta­dium and en­ter there with­out fur­ther screen­ing.

Metro Tran­sit will op­er­ate buses ev­ery 10 to 15 min­utes along the light-rail lines for everybody else but will not stop in the se­cure perime­ter, about five blocks around the sta­dium. Spe­cific in­for­ma­tion on where the stops will be avail­able on the Metro Tran­sit web­site. The agency will have “am­bas­sadors” at many stops to steer rid­ers in the right di­rec­tion, said spokesman Howie Padilla.

Metro Tran­sit also is build­ing 35 more bus shel­ters on the routes be­cause, well, win­ter.

The changes will be in ef­fect all day and most of the evening of Feb. 4. Af­ter the game, as fans dis­perse and down­town Min­neapo­lis starts to clear out, light-rail ser­vice will re­sume for all. Re­place­ment buses will con­tinue to run, Padilla said. .

Metro Tran­sit said the move is all about se­cu­rity.

“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.”

Some rid­ers weren’t buy­ing it, though.

“Why not the other way around?” one woman com­mented on the Face­book thread. “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?”

An­other woman posted, “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!”

Padilla said it’s not un­usual to use buses to re­place light-rail trains in some in­stances, such as when there’s con­struc­tion or an ac­ci­dent on the tracks.

Both the Green and Blue lines stop in front of the sta­dium. That stop is within the se­cure perime­ter and on Su­per Bowl Sun­day, sta­dium se­cu­rity is ex­po­nen­tially more in­tense than it is at reg­u­lar NFL games be­cause of the global pro­file of the game.

Su­per Bowl Host Com­mit­tee Vice Pres­i­dent Kyle Chank said ticket hold­ers will be en­cour­aged to board light-rail trains rather than driv­ing into down­town Min­neapo­lis.

The Su­per Bowl Host Com­mit­tee hopes that 20,000 of the 65,000 peo­ple who will at­tend the game will opt to use tran­sit, help­ing to shorten se­cu­rity lines at the sta­dium.

Host Com­mit­tee spokes­woman An­drea Mokros said plan­ners worked hard to min­i­mize

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