A member of the Metropolitan Council expressed concern Thursday regarding a decision to restrict light rail service on Super Bowl Sunday to just game ticket holders with a special Metro Transit pass.
Gary Cunningham, who has served on the regional planning body since 2011, wrote on Facebook that the “decision on how our public transit system would be used was not publicly vetted and agreed to” by the regional planning body.
Cunningham, who represents downtown, north and south-central Minneapolis and Robbinsdale on the council, said he found out about the arrangement by reading the newspaper, and was subsequently contacted by “numerous constituents.”
Super Bowl ticket holders will be able to use the Blue Line exclusively from the Mall of America to U.S. Bank Stadium. They must also buy a $30 LRT “game-day pass” to ride the line. On the Green Line, only Super Bowl ticket holders will be permitted to ride from Stadium Village at the University of Minnesota to the Minneapolis stadium.
Other riders on LRT will be provided replacement bus service between stations every 10 to 15 minutes on game day.
“I am opposed to public transit being converted to private trains for the privileged class while moving marginalizing poor and homeless people to invisible status outside of the Super Bowl zone,” Cunningham wrote early Thursday. “I am also concerned that our regular transit riders are being [relegated] to second class status and inconvenienced to accommodate Super Bowl ticket holders.”
Later in the day, Cunningham posted information on Facebook from Met Council staff that further elaborated on Super Bowl transit service near the stadium. The council says the system is necessary because the Department of Homeland Security has classified the Super Bowl as the highest-level national security threat.
As a result, federal officials maintain a secure perimeter around the stadium, which includes the light-rail station. So there was no expectation that normal LRT service would operate on game day, the post states.
Ticket-toting fans will go through security screening at Stadium Village and at the Bloomington megamall before being ferried to the game.
Cunningham said later Thursday that the explanation from the council “helps quite a bit.”
Even so, he maintains that the council should have been informed before the decision, and has called for more public discussion about how transit will be affected by the Super Bowl.
“These are big decisions that affect a lot of people,” Cunningham said in an interview. “We all want a great Super Bowl, but we want to make sure customers are served well.”