From tee to green: SEPTA service an ace for U.S. Open spectators

Posted on July 12, 2013 by Heather Redfern - Also by this author

The Ardmore Avenue stop on the Norristown High Speed Line. On a normal day, that stop has a ridership of about 100. During the Open, it was 10,000, which is the normal daily ridership for the entire Norristown High Speed Line.
The Ardmore Avenue stop on the Norristown High Speed Line. On a normal day, that stop has a ridership of about 100. During the Open, it was 10,000, which is the normal daily ridership for the entire Norristown High Speed Line.

How does a town handle a daily influx of 25,000 spectators — double its population — all headed to the USGA’s 2013 U.S. Open? With streets surrounding the venue closed to traffic and no on-site parking, Ardmore, Penn. — a suburb of Philadelphia and home of Merion Golf Club, had a major ally to help move the masses — the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). 
 
Fortunately, Ardmore and the course are easily accessible by public transportation. Merion Golf Club is nestled alongside SEPTA’s Norristown High Speed Line (NHSL) — the Ardmore Avenue Station is adjacent to the course’s 12th hole (entrance gate 3 for the U.S. Open). On a normal day, the stop has approximately 100 customers. During the championship rounds of the Open, that total grew to 10,000 passengers a day, or roughly the regular daily ridership total of the entire 22-stop NHSL.


Spectators and volunteers were also able to take SEPTA’s Paoli/Thorndale Regional Rail Line to the Open, disembarking at Rosemont Station and boarding free shuttle buses for a 10-minute ride to the links. Rosemont, which has a daily ridership of 340 commuters, was the transit hub for 5,000 people during each of the tournament’s final rounds.

“There were 25,000 tickets per day and we carried more than half of those ticketholders to Merion,” said SEPTA Assistant GM of Operations Ron Hopkins. “The USGA also had a remote parking/shuttle bus system in place for spectators, but it was clear as the tournament progressed that the proximity of SEPTA stops and the ease of making connections to the golf course via public transportation were vital in getting the public and volunteers to and from the venue.”

Given Merion Golf Club’s location in a residential neighborhood, the USGA knew it would need to rely on SEPTA and worked with the agency for over a year in advance of the tournament.

“We had consistent contact with USGA representatives throughout the planning stages and during the tournament,” said SEPTA Chief Officer of Surface Transportation Mike Liberi. “In addition to offering expanded schedules to accommodate the thousands of golf enthusiasts and our regular customers, we also collaborated with the USGA on the construction of a temporary pedestrian bridge over the NHSL tracks that would bring Regional Rail passengers from the shuttle bus drop-off to the course.” SEPTA employee ambassadors were positioned at the agency’s key transit centers and stations to direct passengers unfamiliar with the system to their trains.   

Service preparation also needed to include weather contingency plans — although no one was anticipating the torrential rain and severe thunderstorms that hit at the beginning of the championship round’s first day.

“When the USGA closed the gates to spectators because of the lightning, we were able to keep the public on our trains and take them to our stations where they waited for the all clear,” said Hopkins.

The 2013 Open is an example of how public transit can be used as an asset for venues attempting to attract large events — sporting, entertainment, political or otherwise — to their facilities. Such events not only have a financial impact, but often also introduce public transit to new audiences.

“The U.S. Open brought over $100 million to the local economy and allowed us to showcase our multi-modal system,” said SEPTA GM Joseph Casey. “Hopefully the success at Merion will draw similar events to the Greater Philadelphia Region and the SEPTA service area.”

RELATED: "Preparing Rail Service for Special Events"

In case you missed it...

Read our METRO blog, "Is the future of transit free?"

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More Transit Dispatches Blog Posts

June 15, 2016

'AIM-ing' High for Succession Planning in the Transportation Industry

How do you replace the institutional knowledge and subject expertise of a 40-year employee? You do it through succession planning, which is especially necessary in the transportation industry where senior level managers often have well over 25 years’ experience.

June 8, 2016

4 Things Every Transit Leader Should Know About Their Front Line

Lao Tzu, the famous tactician and the author of "The Art of War," wrote “To lead people, walk beside them.” As leaders, we sometimes forget to step outside of our own job duties to understand the unique needs and perspective of our workforce. With the many vital roles we play each day to keep our companies running, we may think our time is too scarce to walk beside our most entry level workers. It's a belief that has resulted in many organizations’ lowered morale and catastrophic financial losses.

May 25, 2016

Changes to rolling stock rules threaten industry supply chain

In February, the FTA finalized its grant management requirements circular governing the administration and management of all FTA grant programs. This revision incorporates changes to these programs contained in both authorizations that have been enacted in recent years, the FAST Act and MAP-21. While some provisions the revised circular are welcome and needed because of enactment of these new laws, it also contains changes that are not only unnecessary but could threaten the industry’s health.

May 4, 2016

Public Transit Has 'Perks' With Loyalty Programs

The benefits of using public transit are many — environmentally friendly, less stressful than driving and no time wasted sitting in traffic, to name a few. For commuters in cities like Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Montreal, there are even more advantages for using transit — discounts at local businesses for using bus/train/trolley passes.

April 28, 2016

6 Ways High-Speed Rail Will Benefit Texas, Transportation Industry

Ask commuters who drive between Houston and Dallas almost every day and see what they have to say. They are known as “super commuters” – the nearly 50, 000 people traveling back and forth between the two cities at least once a week. That number will increase as the growth in Texas continues to climb. Super commuters and other drivers want another solution to Texas’ traffic-clogged highways. Enter the Texas Central high-speed rail project...

See More

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close