MTD adds route for football

By Wesley Deberry

The University Athletic Ticket Office estimates 45,000 to 50,000 fans will be in attendance for Saturday’s football home opener at Memorial Stadium.

To help accommodate the influx of visitors for Saturday’s game, the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics has teamed up with the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District. The solution is a new route specifically designed for University home games called the 28 tranSport.

“The MTD is always looking at opportunities to provide new services and fulfill a niche where there might be one,” said Jan Kijowski, marketing director of C-U MTD.

Two hours prior to the start of the Illini football game, the 28 tranSport will begin running on Goodwin Avenue. It will make three stops along Goodwin before reaching Fourth Street. The final stop for the 28 tranSport will be on Fourth Street, just north of Kirby Avenue.

Tom Costello, managing director of C-U MTD, said the route was specifically designed to have stops close to free parking areas.

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The 28 tranSport will come in 15 minute intervals. Thirty minutes after the start of the football game, intervals will stretch to 30 minutes. Upon the start of the fourth quarter, however, intervals will once again return to 15 minutes.

The cost of the transport will be $2 per person. Kijowski said the service will still be free to University students because it is a “community route.” On average, buses cost $75 per hour to run, and the MTD planes to have three buses on the 28 tranSport route.

“Public transportation agencies never really make a profit, the fares never cover the cost of the services,” Kijowski said. “The fare is intended to help offset those costs but it won’t cover the full expense of providing the services.”

In an effort to increase rider turnout for the 28 tranSport, the C-U MTD has put up signs at the designated stops. The Division of Intercollegiate Athletics has also helped by putting information on the 28 tranSport into its 2007 Memorial Stadium Guide, which has been sent out to all Illini football season ticket holders.

“We are introducing this service for the football season and we hope to continue it into the basketball season,” Kijowski said. “We have every intention, assuming our assumptions are true, that we will have the riders needed to provide this service year after year.”