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.”

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

November 7, 2017

‘Precarious’ Transit Workforce Needs Data, Research to Help Fill the Void

As experienced workers retire, the pool of people to hire away has dried up. In recent years, it has become clear that talent needs to be developed rather than poached.

October 31, 2017

Autonomous shuttles could end commuting woes

Public transit options haven't provided commuters with enough first-mile/last-mile solutions, but a driverless shuttle could be what wins drivers over.

October 31, 2017

7 Tips for Making, Saving Money for Your Transit Agency

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in thirty years about getting increased funding from your board, it’s that winners get investment. People want to invest in winners because they have already shown a propensity to get results with what they have.  

October 25, 2017

Practice is Key for Incident Response on Rail Systems

Working in subway tunnels is difficult under any circumstances and when you have to maneuver around an electrified third rail in an environment with less lighting, the task is even more daunting. Now imagine what it is like during an emergency...

September 20, 2017

The Transit Industry's Workforce Challenge is Still Real

Where are we today with the great anticipated retirement wave? It looks like it may finally be starting, if not fully underway. It seems at least a couple times each month we here of a transit CEO who is retiring, technical staff who are leaving, and the difficulty in filling maintenance and operations positions with skilled workers for those who have retired.

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