What’s the Best Way to Get 150 UC Students to a Bengals Game?

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Suppose 150 UC students want to go to the Bengals game on a Sunday afternoon.  Wishing to avoid the high cost of parking near the stadium or the risks of drinking and driving, they decide to take public transportation.  The group arrives at the intersection of McMillan and Vine streets at exactly 12:00pm going to a game with a 1:10pm kick off.  We will assume that any public transportation that comes to pick up the students will be about ¼ full (probably a low estimate as the streetcar would be busy on game days).

After Cincinnati invests in a streetcar and it begins operations, the students would wait about ten minutes (maybe less if a streetcar was approaching when they arrive), and would all board the same streetcar, filling it to its capacity of 199 passengers.  Even if the streetcar was too full to take all the students in one trip, in ten minutes another bus or streetcar would be along to pick them up.

They would get dropped off at 2nd and Walnut just over two blocks from the Stadium, and  have about 45 minutes until kickoff.  Those of legal age could stop in one of the many new bars or restaurants at The Banks for a Christian Moerlein or Hudy Delight, and then walk over and enjoy the game.

Unfortunately, Cincinnati does not have a streetcar at present, so the students would have to take Metro.  The first bus, a 46, would arrive at 12:20 and around 35 students would add to those currently on the bus and fill it to capacity.  The students would get dropped off at 5th and Walnut, and after a 14 minute walk make it to the game at 12:49.

The second bus, a 78, would arrive at 12:24, and would fill to capacity.  After being dropped off at 6th and Vine, the students would make it to the game by 12:53.

The third bus, another 46, would arrive at 12:45.  The 35 students boarding this bus would miss kickoff and arrive at 1:14.

The fourth bus arrives at 12:56, and this load of students don’t make it to the game until 1:23pm.  The reality is they could have walked to the stadium faster.

If they didn’t manage to squeeze their way onto another bus, the fifth and final group of 10 students gets picked up at 1:10.  The Bengals will likely be down 7-0 by the time they arrive at 1:39.

Unless the Bengals are losing badly and students choose to start leaving in the 2nd or 3rd quarter, the bus ride back is going to be just as bad.

After this experience, how many of the students in the 3rd, 4th, or 5th busload are likely to choose public transportation again?

Aboard a Portland Streetcar
Aboard a Portland Streetcar

The Cincinnati Streetcar, even viewing it strictly as a means of transit and not considering the myriad economic development benefits, is more reliable, easier to use, and less confusing than the bus system because riders can see the tracks and know where the streetcar will run.

Buses are an important part of any transit system, but rail transit’s higher capacities and easily understandable routes make it a better choice for connecting the City’s major attractions and most densely populated neighborhoods, especially for intermittent users riding to a ball game, theatre performance, or one of the new business along the route.  Just as a city wouldn’t make every road a one way street, a ‘one size fits all’ bus-only transit system doesn’t perform as well with a transit system with numerous modes of transportation each filling a different role.

Because they are easier to use, streetcars it encourage intermittent users as well as dedicated ones in a way buses just don’t.  Once infrequent transit riders get comfortable riding the streetcar, they will be more likely to consider other transit options and ride the bus, boosting ridership on both systems. Increase Transit Ridership—Build the Streetcar


12 thoughts on “What’s the Best Way to Get 150 UC Students to a Bengals Game?

    The Conservative said:
    July 17, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    “No. I don’t like it. It won’t work. No.”

    Christine said:
    July 17, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    UC offers a shuttle for its students, they could ride that.

    cincystreetcar said:
    July 17, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    The UC Shuttle that goes downtown only runs 7pm-3am Thursday-Saturday.

    Rob said:
    July 17, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    …. and can’t hold 199 people. It holds 20 at most.

    Jason said:
    July 17, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Excellent example of the thousands of reasons to build the streetcar. Looking forward to another, and I would stress even more the economic benefits to urban businesses. If you can encourage people to come downtown and help make for a positive experience, just imagine the snowball effect and it’s effect on the Cincinnati economy.

    Jeremy said:
    July 17, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    … and after the game, the US shuttle likely already has students sleeping the whole route over and over again reducing its capacity.

    Travis said:
    July 17, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    Additionally, the UC shuttle leaves at 7:05 pm from campus and arrives downtown at Main & 7th at 7:30pm. This 25-minute trip is 10 minutes longer than the Metro trip going from the UC area to Downtown. Those buses only hold around 20-30 people (at my estimate) and are clearly not an option for daytime events, as they run 7pm to 3am.

    Also, UC and its Student Government pay Metro a significant amount of money each year, so that Metro will sell highly-discounted quarterly passes to students, faculty and staff members. UC, being a supporter of the Streetcar, would probably pay its operators to allow students to ride the Streetcar for free or with highly-discounted quarterly passes.

    R said:
    July 17, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    The point is, there already is a FREE transportation for UC students to get downtown during major drinking hours. How many people use that now? I know I never have, and I drink downtown at least once a week!

    Quimbob said:
    July 18, 2009 at 9:16 am

    heck with the Bengals
    Back in the 60s & 70s UC students frequently lived in OTR. Improved housing & quick simple transportation up & down the hill would provide students with more options (which would also benefit the school).

    The Libertarian said:
    July 19, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    Don’t get me wrong, I support the streetcar but this is about the worst argument I’ve ever seen for it. Are we going to spend millions of dollars for 150 out of 65,000 can have a slightly more convenient ride to the stadium? On top of that we’re talking about an event that happens 8 times a year (Bengals home game).

    Like I said, I like the streetcar but don’t throw up dumb arguments like this that will only get blown up.

    Travis said:
    July 20, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    “The point is, there already is a FREE transportation for UC students to get downtown during major drinking hours. How many people use that now? I know I never have, and I drink downtown at least once a week!”

    You must’ve completely missed the point. The UC shuttle only holds 20-30 people, and the Downtown route only runs 7pm-3am on weekends.

    […] examined the difficulties of large groups of UC students wanting to use public transportation to go a Bengals game.  What if the same 150 students wanted to take the bus back to UC from the fireworks?  As in the […]

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