In an effort to safely transport as many students and fans as possible to the 150th Lehigh-Lafayette rivalry football game in New York City on Nov. 22, Lehigh Athletics is providing buses to and from Yankee Stadium.
Lehigh has arranged 16 Coach buses, enough for 850 students, said Rich Haas, director of sales and marketing for the Athletics Department and point person for the bus process. The cost of a student bus ticket is $30.
“We want to make sure students have a safe and low-priced option to get to and from the game and enjoy it,” Haas said.
Haas said the Athletics Department surveyed students last spring to get a sense of how many students might want to take the bus and used that survey data to come up with a number for how many buses to reserve. He said the survey shows that a large majority of students are planning on making a weekend out of the game, meaning they will be using other means of transportation to get to New York City.
“I decided not to take the Lehigh buses because I wanted to spend an extra night in the city,” said Sarah Esterow, ’18, who is taking the Port Authority bus to and from New York City and staying with a friend.
The buses will leave at 11 a.m. on game day, Haas said.
“It’s basically just to the game and back, just for people coming from campus and going right back,” he said.
The university has also rented six buses for non-student fans such as faculty, staff and local residents, Haas said. For non-students, the bus pass is $40.
Lehigh Athletics was able to subsidize the cost of the student bus passes to try to make it affordable for students to go to the game. Thirty dollars is less than it actually costs to pay for the bus, he said, but they are making up for some of that with the fan buses. Haas said they are capping the fan buses at six to reserve the rest of the spots for students, but if they find that there is availability, the other buses will be opened up to non-students.
As of Friday, Oct. 17, enough student bus passes had been sold to fill five and a half buses out of the 16.
“So either we overestimated the number of students needing buses, or students are procrastinating,” Haas said.
The other options for students are driving or taking public transportation. What the Athletic Department has been hearing, Haas said, is that many students are driving to the New York area, some to the actual stadium and others to surrounding areas, who will then take mass transit to get to the stadium. In New York City, there are plenty of mass transit options, he said.
Elly Wardle, ’16, plans to use an alternate method of transportation. She is driving into New York City with friends on Friday. However, Wardle said most of her friends are taking a party bus to and from the game.
“I am driving so I can decide what time I arrive and leave and not have to plan around the bus schedule,” Wardle said. “I think (the Lehigh buses) is a pretty good system; I just want to do my own thing and have some flexibility with my schedule.”
On the day of the game, the boarding process for the buses will begin at 10 a.m. on Packer Ave., Haas said. Buses are expected to be on the road by 11 a.m. Students are required to have a bus pass and a game ticket to board the bus. Lehigh police will manage the boarding process and ride select buses. Buses will leave on time with or without students, Haas said.
When students purchase a bus pass, they are assigned to a specific bus. Someone will be in charge of each bus and have a list of the students who are assigned to that bus, as well as collect cell phone numbers from those students. Students are also asked to provide emergency contact information. Students are required to ride the same bus to and from the game, which is intended to make it easier to keep track of everyone.
The buses will be parked about three blocks away from the stadium and will be in the same spot as where they park at the start of the game, so students will know where to go. The buses will leave New York City 45 minutes after the end of the game.
“We don’t want people to feel like they have to sprint from the stadium,” Haas said. “We want them to stay the whole game and enjoy.”
Students taking the buses are required to sign a code of conduct. This entails rules such as not bringing alcohol on the bus, being on time for both legs of the trip and behaving in an appropriate manner.
“We want people to have fun,” Haas said. “Just do it in a safe and mature manner.”
Students can still buy bus passes at www.lehightickets.com until Oct. 22.