The free light-rail rides aim to reduce traffic congestion and boost game attendance.
Beginning Thursday on opening day, Seattle Mariners fans will be able to show their game ticket and receive a free ride on Sound Transit’s light rail.
In an effort to reduce traffic congestion and boost game attendance, Sound Transit partnered with the Mariners to encourage transit ridership and decrease parking at Safeco Field. Rides are free to and from the game through June 3.
Fans can park for free at a park-and-ride lot or pay for parking at a garage downtown and take light rail to the stadium.
In a separate arrangement by the Mariners, riders who take Uber to or from the Angle Lake or University of Washington light-rail station on game days will receive $3.50 off their fare. That discount also goes through June 3.
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“Within minutes, you’ll be at the ballpark bypassing the stress and the headaches,” said Kevin Mather, Seattle Mariners President and CEO, at a news conference Tuesday.
The baseball franchise will reimburse Sound Transit for the cost of a train ticket, which is based on 2017 estimates of attendees who used light rail to get to the game.
Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff said the program is partially modeled on an agreement between Valley Metro Rail and Talking Stick Resort Arena in Arizona to support transit ridership to Phoenix Suns games.
“It brought thousands of new passengers onto their system — passengers who then, having discovered the convenience of light rail, stayed with the system,” he said. “We expect the exact same thing to happen here.”
Free rides will begin three hours before the game starts and extend until the end of the service day. That is designed, Rogoff said, to support businesses in the Chinatown International District, Pioneer Square and Sodo by encouraging fans to enjoy food and drinks before the game.
This pilot program does not cover rides on Sounder, ST Express or Metro buses.