Investors Group Field traffic has improved, say officials
Blue Bombers, Winnipeg Transit review transit, parking at Taylor Swift concert
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Winnipeg Transit say Taylor Swift fans faced fewer traffic snarls and transit delays at Investors Group Field over the weekend.
About 35,000 people packed the city's new stadium on Saturday for the sold-out show, which was the first concert to be held there.
Officials have been working on improving traffic, parking and transit services since Blue Bombers fans were frustrated by gridlock and transit delays at the team's pre-season game on June 12.
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Speaking to reporters on Monday, Bombers chief operating officer Jim Bell said improved parking lot signage and earlier access to those lots were helpful.
Bell said officials are seeing what they can do to make it easier for motorists to exit the parkades, following complaints from concert-goers that it took upwards of 90 minutes to leave the stadium.
As for bus service, Winnipeg Transit director Dave Wardrop said approximately 9,800 fans were transported from the concert on Saturday.
"We did see some improvement," Wardrop said, but added that officials will continue to improve service.
Many of those who saw Taylor Swift's show reported a smoother time getting to Investors Group Field compared to the June 12 game, in part because they went to the stadium early.
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"I was worried. I left about an hour before and I was able to down here in a reasonable time, and I'm not going to miss the concert," said Danny Warren.
More shuttle and bus-only lanes also eased the transit delays, with many fans reporting fewer problems at Park and Ride locations.
"We hardly waited at all. Right on a bus, waited for it to fill up — maybe about 10 minutes — and then away we were, off to the show," said Mike Kanaletz.
In addition to frustrations about getting out of the parking lots, there was still some confusion over where to park. Tara Fillion said she and her sister were told several different things before they finally landed a parking permit.
"Finally got the coveted parking passes, 45 minutes later," she said.
"It wasn't the parking people's fault because they're volunteers. There's just no guidance."
Next big test coming Thursday
The stadium's next big test will come on Thursday, when the Blue Bombers host the Montreal Alouettes in the CFL's regular-season opener.
Winnipeg Transit is asking people to get to the stadium early on Thursday, and officials say there will be at least eight Park and Ride lots — more than the five lots available on Saturday.
Details on the Park and Ride locations will be confirmed by Tuesday afternoon.
There will be upwards of 196 buses — 116 school buses and 80 transit buses — available for Thursday's game, which Wardrop said should be enough to transport about 11,500 people.