Dodger Stadium Express gears up for the 2014 season

The days are getting longer and the weather is getting warmer, which means it’s almost time for baseball season! The Dodgers have returned from Australia for a pre-season game versus the Angels on Thursday, March 27, and the Dodger Stadium Express will be ready to go for game time.

The Dodger Stadium Express runs between Los Angeles Union Station and Dodger Stadium and is free to those holding game tickets. The details for Dodger Stadium Express service:

  • Board the Dodger Stadium Express at Bus Bay 3 of the Patsaouras Transit Plaza at Union Station.
  • Service leaves Union Station every 5-10 minutes, starting 90 minutes before game time through the 3rd inning for all home games. We recommend arriving early; crowds are heaviest near game time.
  • Your Dodger ticket is good on gameday for the Dodger Stadium Express fare; otherwise, regular Metro fares apply.
  • NEW for 2014: You can exit inside Dodger Stadium at one of two stops – behind Center Field and at the Top Deck. Service will pick up at the same stops after the game.
  • Return service runs until 45 minutes after the final out.
  • A second dedicated bus lane will be in place along Sunset Blvd. to allow for quicker departure of buses.

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Metrolink is also getting into the swing of things with special train service on the Orange County Line from Oceanside to Union Station for the March 27 and 28 games as the Dodgers play against cross-town opponents, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The cost to ride the train is $7 round trip.

Keep reading after the jump for the official press release from Metro:

For the fifth year in a row, Metro will offer Dodger Stadium Express bus service from Union Station in downtown Los Angeles to Dodger Stadium beginning on Thursday, March 27 & 28 for the Dodgers/Angels exhibition games and throughout the 2014 regular season under a two year grant approved last year by the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC).  The Dodgers’ 2014 season kicks off on Opening Day against the San Francisco Giants on Friday, April 4.

“We are ecstatic to be once again offering this service to the people of Los Angeles County and beyond,” said Metro Board Chair and Lakewood City Council member Diane DuBois. “In past years, fans from all over have taken advantage of this great service by leaving their cars and SUV’s at home and choosing Metro as their Dodger game day transit provider.”

A two-year grant of over $1.1 million ($1,169,000) was awarded to Metro by the MSRC last year to fund the operation of the Dodger Stadium Express service for both the 2013 and 2014 Dodgers baseball seasons. The funding is made in support of clean fuel transit service to link Union Station to Dodger Stadium. The MSRC awards funding within the South Coast Air Basin from a portion of the vehicle registration fee set aside for mobile source projects that result in emission reductions.

Last year the Dodger Stadium Express bus service transported over 186,000 fans. During the 2012 season the Dodger Stadium Express service transported nearly 136,000 Dodger fans. A 2013 Metro riders’ survey showed that more than 75 percent of customers used public transportation from their place of origin to Union Station to connect with the Dodger Stadium Express, taking advantage of the regional rail and bus network to get from their home or work to the games. An estimated 96 percent of transit riders to the games used Metro Rail or Metro buses, with the remaining transit riders taking Metrolink to Union Station.  The survey also revealed that 46 percent of the Dodger Stadium Express passengers are repeat customers.

Funding under the MSRC grant will be used to offset the cost of fares on the Dodger Stadium Express bus service for passengers possessing a Dodger ticket. Service will be provided starting 90 minutes prior to the beginning of the games and will end 45 minutes after the end of the game.

“Improving air quality and reducing congestion, our Express bus service provides fans from across the county with a convenient, safe and low-cost way to attend a Dodger game without having to fight traffic or spend money on gas,” said Metro Board member and LA County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, a South Coast Air Quality Management District representative on the MSRC. “It’s a big win for Dodger fans and a homerun for our region.”

The Dodger Stadium Express will begin at Union Station picking up Dodger fans at the Patsaouras Bus Plaza adjacent to the east portal of Union Station and continue to Dodger Stadium via Sunset Blvd. and Cesar Chavez Avenue.

Last year, the Dodger Stadium Express bus service included a dedicated bus lane on Sunset Boulevard to Dodger Stadium where traffic congestion is expected to be heaviest along the route. Thanks in part to funding from the grant, Metro is partnering with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) for traffic mitigation support that will help expedite trips to and from the games. This year a second dedicated bus lane along Sunset Blvd. leaving Dodger Stadium will be put into place to allow a quicker departure of buses.

New to the service this year is the installation of radios on board the dedicated fleet of Metro buses (12) so that Dodger fans using the service can enjoy listening to Dodger baseball when traveling to and from the stadium. Service will be provided every 10 minutes prior to the start of the game and run approximately every 30 minutes throughout the game. Also new this year will be two drop-off points within Dodger Stadium. One behind left/center field and a new stop on the upper parking deck near Lot P. This will enable Dodger fans two different drop-off and pick-up points within Dodger Stadium for faster service. Metro will deploy state-of-the-art 40-foot clean burning compressed natural gas (CNG) buses. Dodger game day tickets will be honored as fare payment to ride the bus service. Those without a ticket will pay regular one way fare of $1.50.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are working closely with Metro to ensure a high level of awareness for this service to Dodger Stadium and plan to continue to promote the service to fans during each game. The Dodger Stadium Express bus service will be provided by Veolia Transportation under contract to Metro.

“We’re thrilled to join Metro in offering the Dodger Stadium Express for yet another exciting season of Dodger baseball,” said Dodger Senior Vice President of External Affairs Renata Simril. “It is a highly anticipated year with the largest season seat base in decades making this offering more important than ever.”

Patrons are encouraged to use the many transportation alternatives that serve Union Station that will connect them to the Dodger Stadium Express. Metro operates the Metro Gold Line from East Los Angeles to Pasadena, the Metro Red/Purple subway lines from Wilshire/Western and North Hollywood to downtown and the Metro Green Line between Norwalk and El Segundo intersects with the Metro Blue Line operating between Long Beach and downtown Los Angeles as well as the newly opened Expo Line from Culver City on the Westside to downtown Los Angeles..

In addition, Metrolink this year will operate special game day service to the Rail Series. As the Dodgers face the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on March 27 & 28 and August 4 & 5, fans will be able to take Metrolink Train 609 or 689 on the Orange County Line. The Rail Series special train will depart L.A. Union Station one hour after the end of the game.

Fans can also take regular service on Metrolink’s San Bernardino Line throughout the season to the Dodger Stadium Express bus service. Trains leave Los Angeles Union Station as late as 11 p.m. weekdays, 11:30 p.m. on Saturdays and 9 p.m. on Sundays. For exact schedules and departure times, visit www.metrolinktrains.com.

“Metrolink is excited to partner with the folks from Metro and the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee to provide the special trains for fans to attend Dodger games,” said Metrolink Board Chair and Highland Mayor Pro Tem Larry McCallon. “In addition to the special trains from Orange County, I know people from the Inland Empire have historically taken Metrolink to Union Station and jumped on the Dodger Stadium Express shuttle to enjoy a game. I certainly plan on trying to make that trip this season to cheer on the Dodgers.”

“The MSRC is pleased to provide a fifth year of Clean Transportation Funding for the Dodger Stadium Express because it helps further our mission to improve air quality for all Southern Californians,” said Greg Pettis, Chair of the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC). “Taking Dodger fans out of their cars and getting them onto public transportation reduced congestion around the stadium for everyone, which helps to reduce air pollution from idling traffic. Plus, riding on CNG buses in dedicated bus lanes makes it a faster and cleaner ride to the game.”

During its 23-year history, MSRC has removed 20 million pounds of harmful pollutants from the air by funding projects designed to reduce air pollution from mobile sources such as cars, trucks and buses. MSRC has distributed more than $290 million to local governments, transit agencies and private businesses throughout the south coast basin.

Metro operates many bus and rail lines that serve Union Station along with Metrolink and Amtrak where patrons can easily transfer to the Dodger Stadium Express. For specific route and schedule information visit www.metro.net or call 323.GO.METRO (323.466.3876).

15 replies

  1. The new stop is great. For people with top deck seats it was always a hassle to sit in the bus in parking lot traffic while you make the whole loop to center field, passing by the top deck on the way, only to have to walk all the way back to the other side of the stadium.

    I’m curious as to how this will be managed post-game. Will some busses originate at each stop and head directly back to Union Station, or are they two stops in a route? If they’re two stops in a route, I foresee longer wait and ride times.

    Also, all eyes should be on LADOT. Nearly all of the complaints I had or heard were related to the DOT’s (mis)management of the “bus-only” lanes. I hope they get their act together and that these lanes are truly bus only this season.

    • Hi Steven,

      The plan at this time is to have 2 separate return routes:

      o Buses picking up at stop 1 will leave via the Downtown/Stadium Way exit
      o Buses picking up at stop 2 will leave via the Elysian/Sunset exit

      We’ll update if there are any changes, but it does look like this will help expedite exiting the stadium.

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

  2. Are there any plans to expand Dodger Stadium Express other than having it just leave/arrive at Union Station? I live in San Pedro and I have to take 3-4 buses to get to Dodger Stadium. I think having Dodger Stadium express or a special bus line that will run to and from Dodger stadium will not only reduce traffic but will assure that people can get to and from the game without having to take 3-5 buses/trains just to see a game. Has there been any talk on that at least?

    • Hi Matthew;

      Not that I know of. Sounds like you want something similar to the Hollywood Bowl shuttle. I think that’s not happened with Dodger Stadium because of the wealth of parking up there. That said, if regular season crowds grow larger and larger, perhaps there would be an appetite to do something like that, although it would require funding and, I’m guessing, would require fares.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • Ahh okay. Thanks for responding. Yeah I remember sending the Dodgers an email about that idea two years ago and last season. I also observe what the Anaheim Ducks do for games as well with ART. I wouldn’t mind the fares if that was to happen. It’s something I think would help traffic going to and from games. especially games like Opening Day and Playoffs as well as Special Events.

  3. This would almost be perfect if Expo went to Union Station! Can’t wait for the downtown connector project!!! For now that one extra train (total 2 trains and 1 bus) makes it just complicated enough that I’d rather just drive.

  4. How does one get the $7 special rate on Metrolink Orange Co. line on March 27 or 28? I checked the fare planner on their web site and it still shows $18.50 RT. Will there be a special button on the TVM at the Station on those 2 days like there is on weekends?

    • Hi Alan,

      According to Metrolink, tickets can only be purchased from the TVMs on game day, there are no advanced ticket sales for this offer. If you have questions, you can call Metrolink at 800-371-5465.

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

  5. An express bus from San Pedro might not pencil out for Metro, but at least until the Regional Connector is completed it might make sense for Metro to run a second Dodger shuttle from a heavily used Metro station. To me, 7th St/Metro Center makes a lot of sense and will cut down on the number of transfers needed for those coming from the Port area and the Westside. We’ve already seen Metro use the north(west) corner of 7th & Hope for bus loading. That might be a good pickup/dropoff spot for a second Dodger shuttle. Maybe something to consider for future seasons.

    As for 2014, it’s uber-great to hear about the 2 separate return routes for the Dodger shuttle. My experience is that the biggest delay by far is the achingly slooooooow crawl the buses must endure to exit the stadium grounds. Allowing the Center Field shuttle (I assume this is what you meant by “stop 1”) to use the Downtown gate and the Top Deck (“stop 2”?) shuttle to use the Sunset gate should really cut down on these delays. My advice: When promoting the new & improved Stadium Express, be sure to mention this expedited exit procedure.

    Oh, and before I forget, will the shuttle still offer dropoffs at Cesar Chavez & Spring? I ask because there is still a Stadium Express sign posted at that location.

    • Hi Alex,

      Yes, the buses will stop at Cesar Chavez/Spring. However, being able to board at that stop depends on how crowded the buses are when they leave Union Station. Most of the time, the operators try to leave a bit of space, but as you know the closer it is to game time, the more crowded the buses are, so please plan ahead.

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

  6. I am flying into lax for two dodger games. Never been before and wil need to use public trans to get around. Any advice on where to stay and how to use the public trans would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Terry,

      I sadly don’t have much advice on where to stay…that all depends on your budget and what else you’d like to do while in town. (DTLA is always a good option though! Lots of affordable hotels and central to most destinations.) As for transit, if you’re coming from LAX, your best bet is probably to take the Flyaway to Union Station, and from there you can take the Dodger Stadium Express to the game! Union Station is also a hub for various buses and trains. Try Trip Planner to find routes and connections.

      And to get around, you’ll need to purchase a TAP card ($1). It’s reusable, so once you load it with cash or a pass, you’re good to go. Check out metro.net for riders’ guides, how to TAP, etc. If you need more specific help, call Customer Relations at 323.GO.METRO or you can ask us anything on Twitter @metrolosangeles. Hope this helps a little bit, and happy to have you in LA!

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

  7. Terry: Ditto on what Anna said: Take the FlyAway express bus from LAX to Union Station. Purchase and charge up a Metro TAP card and you can use the Red or Purple lines to travel into the core of Downtown LA which has several good lodging options including properties from most of the major chains as well as some boutique independent hotels. I’d recommend using TripAdvisor to hone down what you’re looking for hotel-wise.