“Our expectations were that this movement would involve the transport of thousands of attendees from various states and to include a multitude of potential wheel chairs and mobile scooters,” said Copling. “Personnel from DDOT, National Guard would be stationed at RFK to assist with passenger direction and information about the shuttle service.”
There were a series of meetings one week prior and then again one day prior to the event. “Operators and supervisors were provided an opportunity to ride a training bus to become familiar with the routing to and from the stadium parking lot,” Copling said. “Operators were informed of the modified schedule for the day of the event and were provided with report times and instruction for reliefs during the day.”
During the planning meetings with DDOT, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Metro Police and the Inauguration event planners, it was determined 42 buses would be used to provide a continuous shuttle service from RFK Stadium to 7th Street and Interstate 295 frontage road where passengers would de-board and walk about 5 blocks to the event.
During the inbound trip, Copling explained the charter buses were directed to predetermined lots where passengers de-boarded and proceeded to one of four staging areas where Red Cross, DDOT and First Transit supervisors assisted with Circulator boarding. The same personnel assisted then with the return trips.
It was estimated there were 8,900 people transported to the event and an estimated 17,500 for the return trip.
Copling stressed, “It is important to ensure that everyone involved participates in the pre-planning and everyone understands and executes the plan as developed.” He added, “This event was nothing less than a success.”
A Super Time in Indianapolis
When hosting a Super Bowl, the city finds out years in advance and about a year, year-and-a-half before the event, a lot of local organizing committee action goes on. Indianapolis Public Transportation Corp. (IndyGo) Vice President of BusinessDevelopment Samantha Cross explained there were various committees and several IndyGo staff members were on the transportation committee.
“Being on the committee was very valuable because they saw us as a resource and then we had that connection where we can almost protect the service a little,” Cross said.
There’s a bid package cities put out when they want to be considered as the host outlining what your city is going to deliver, and transit was an element of that. The bid has certain promises and IndyGo President & CEO Michael Terry said, “You’re not sure of the details until it’s presented by the committee.”
Street closures were an expected challenge with Lucas Oil Stadium being right downtown, but one of the challenges they were worried about was in relation to transit advertising and meeting the requirements of their annual contracts.
Part of the bid involves basically giving all of your inventory over to the NFL when it comes to ad space. However, it wasn’t anything too specific in the bid. There’s also a “free zone” where basically they own the city for all of the advertising.
Bryan Luellen, manager of marketing, explained, “They don’t allow outside advertising, so Pepsi and Lays were NFL sponsors and there were certain competitors that could not be there.”
It eventually did work out OK that IndyGo could go out and sell and maintain its annual contracts for the transit advertising. Cross said, “We didn’t want to lose money because of this exciting time, but it all worked out.”
When it came to detours there was a game plan put in place for developing all the routing in and out of downtown for that period, Jan. 27 to Feb. 5. In addition to the detour preparation, IndyGo offered free rides Feb. 2 through 5, funded by a Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) federal grant.
A book with each route in and out was developed and then that was handed over to the marketing and communications team and the operations and training team. Training even included ensuring the operators followed the requirements of having to tell riders, “Have a super day.” Cross said throughout the city, “Everything was, ‘Have a super day!’”