MINNEAPOLIS - Some on social media are blasting Metro Transit after it was announced earlier this week that service on the light rail will be limited on Super Bowl Sunday.
On the day of the game, the Green Line west of Stadium Village and the Blue Line north of the Mall of America will require airport-like screening to board the rail, a $30 gameday fare and a ticket to the Super Bowl.
You read that right. A ticket to Super Bowl LII.
Metro Transit will provide free replacement buses for riders not going to the game. Even so, many are not happy with the plan saying it gives VIP light rail access to those who can afford Super Bowl ticket... on the taxpayers' dime.
The Super Bowl Host Committee says this plan was a sacrifice for security. The light rail tracks run inside the stadium's secure area. Allowing unscreened everyday traffic that close to the stadium on gameday would be too great a risk.
"That is it and I want to clarify that this isn't about convenience for game-goers at all, this is 100 percent about the security of the stadium and the train and its proximity to the stadium," said Andrea Mokros of the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee.
Metro Transit stresses this option was better than the alternative. The NFL had asked the city shut down service around the stadium for 96 hours (Friday-Sunday). The request was denied.
Metro Transit says it will offer free rides to any customer whose travel plans are disrupted and will be using replacement buses on the day of the Super Bowl.
"If a customer has already paid a fare and transfers to a replacement bus, they will be reimbursed with a fare coupon they can use on their next ride at a later date on Metro Transit," it said in a statement on Facebook. "No taxpayer money is being spent on gameday services, including rail service to the game. The cost for gameday service, including replacement buses, will be paid for through Super Bowl-related revenue and advertising. As we get closer to the Super Bowl events, we will continue to be a voice on behalf of our riders."
Metro Transit says the $30 gameday fare will help pay for the extra routes and security of the week. They reiterated no tax dollars are being spent on this. When asked if the NFL in any way is paying for this light rail exclusivity, a Metro Transit spokesperson said they've "received no revenue from the NFL at this point."