Astronomically high parking prices outside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for patrons headed to Los Angeles Rams games could be just the thing the city needs to combat congestion and encourage fans to use trains and buses, public transportation activists say.
According to the Los Angeles Times, parking spaces for Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks — the first NFL game held in Los Angeles in nearly 22 years — were selling for a minimum of $50, and that was considered a steal.
Some parking spaces, offered by independent parking operators around the Coliseum, were going for nearly $200, without tailgating privileges.
trying to find parking at the rams game right now….. all the lots are $100+
— cgris (@chrissgris) September 18, 2016
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) September 18, 2016
Fans hope that when the team’s new stadium in Englewood is completed in three years, prices might come down.
“It’s freaking hugely pricey here,” one fan who pre-paid $160 online told the Times on game day. “I can’t wait for them to get the news stadium built, because it’s going to be so much better. But you know what? I am so happy that the Rams are back. It’s great for L.A.”
But advocates for public transportation in Los Angeles — ordinarily considered too burdensome for travelers in the automobile-choked city — see a prime opportunity to encourage fans to use city transit services on game day, at least until the new stadium is built.
On Thursday, Metrolink announced special service on its Antelope Valley, San Bernardino, Orange County and Perris Valley lines that will allow Rams fans to get to home games for just $10.
“There’s no faster, more convenient and affordable way to get to and from the game,” Metrolink Board Chairman Shawn Nelson told CBS Los Angeles. “We hope our current riders enjoy this special service, but we also want to attract new riders who don’t realize how easy it is to ride Metrolink.”
The Times reported that trains to Sunday’s home opener were “packed.”
Rob Frings told the paper that he paid just $3.50 to ride to the game after parking his car downtown and catching the train.
“We heard those same crazy prices and were like, that’s ridiculous,” he told the Times. “It’s good that this got people in L.A. to embrace public transit.”
L.A. Rams fans will have a few weeks to familiarize themselves with the city’s public transportation systems; the next home game comes October 9, against the Buffalo Bills.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum