March 2, 2009
Tampa’s HART Provides ‘Super’ Service on Game Day; in Pittsburgh, A Winning Game Plan for Steelers Celebration
When the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals met at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL, for Super Bowl XLIII, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit was standing by to provide a record number of rides. Most of these were on the TECO Line Streetcar System, which provided more than 45,000 rides during Super Bowl weekend, compared with 2,500 on a regular Saturday or 1,200 on an average weekday.
The TECO Line serves Tampa’s Ybor City historic district, where Fox Sports taped its program The Best Damn Sports Show, Period, as part of Super Bowl festivities.
While HART did not operate shuttles to the game because of the federal charter service regulations enacted last year, it did extend its hours of service on the streetcar line and rubber-wheel trolleys. Also, several hundred riders traveled from downtown Tampa to the stadium on HART’s local bus Route 7, which operated longer than usual hours on game day and carried about 100 more riders than on an average Sunday.
Immediately after the Steelers’ claimed their Super Bowl win, the Port Authority of Allegheny County began planning for the team’s victory parade back in Pittsburgh.
Originally, city and county leaders had considered skipping a parade, keeping in mind the horrendous traffic problems in 2006 that nearly brought the city to a halt following the team’s last Super Bowl victory. At the eleventh hour, however, they went with the parade, but implemented tricter guidelines and a significant amount of help from Port Authority.
After discussing several options for the parade route, Port Authority Assistant Manager of Road Operations Chuck Rompala’s suggestion of using the agency’s Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway as a starting point for the parade was chosen. He also proposed that Port Authority schedule extra bus and rail service for an estimated 350,000 Steelers fans.
One more critical detail: The authority held responsibility for transporting the “black and gold” players, their families, coaches, and even owner Dan Rooney, to the parade. Appropriately, it used six gold buses to carry the six-time Super Bowl champs from the team’s South Side practice facility.