Thursday, December 18, 2008

Take the Music City Star to See the Titans...for $20 a Head

Posted By on Thu, Dec 18, 2008 at 5:05 AM

click to enlarge gamedayexpress.jpg
From my record, it's seems I only blog about gays and trains. (But usually not at the same time--I don't write those kinds of posts.) While I don't care for football, I do have a football-fan friend. And if you're a Titans (or Steelers) fan and plan on going to the game this Sunday, you can avoid the traffic snarls downtown by taking the Music City Star's Game Day Express service.

The train will depart Lebanon Station at 10 a.m. and arrive at Riverfront Station at 11:05 a.m. (stopping at Martha, Mt. Juliet, Hermitage and Donelson Stations along the way). A limited number of round-trip tickets are available, and they can be bought in advance for $15 or on the day of the game from conductors for $20.

During the week, the maximum round-trip commuter fare is $10. A colleague asked me if the high price is an attempt to gouge people during football games. Wondering myself, I asked Deborah Varallo, head of PR for the Music City Star, who explained, "Early on, it was determined that the special train run needed to pay for itself or at least come as close as possible. The Game Day Express takes a special crew, and the crew has to stay for the duration of the game and then take the people back to the station."

I understand the explanation, but my colleague makes a valid point. If this is someone's first impression of riding the Star, they'll probably feel gouged, even after a hassle-free trip to and from the game. A family of four who showed up on game day to take the train would be out $80. I don't know how much parking costs for a game, but it can't be that high, even factoring in gas, which is now stupidly cheap.

I have to imagine the special train runs are used not only to provide a service, but also to advertise the value of train service itself. However, if you can't offer an economical value these days, most people will miss the true value of public transportation in Nashville: less-congested roadways, lower fuel consumption, decreased pollution, stress-free commutes (goodbye, road rage), safer travel, etc.

If you're not a die-hard tailgater and live near the train line, consider the long-term cost of driving your car and take the Star. Visit musiccitystar.org to see the full schedule and where you can buy advance tickets.

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