OSEG has a familiar plan to get fans moving during Grey Cup week

 

 
 
 
 
Anyone with a ticket for a Grey Cup festival event or for the game can ride OC Transpo and STO for free, at certain times, from Nov. 22 to game day, Nov. 26.
 

Anyone with a ticket for a Grey Cup festival event or for the game can ride OC Transpo and STO for free, at certain times, from Nov. 22 to game day, Nov. 26.

Photograph by: Tony Caldwell, Ottawa Citizen

The Grey Cup transportation mantra is one that fans of the Ottawa Redblacks know by heart.

DON’T drive to Lansdowne, except via park and ride. DO take a free bus.

That message is amplified for Grey Cup week, with an influx of several thousand out-of-town fans and 12,000 or so extra seats in place for the Cup game at TD Place on Sunday, Nov. 26.

Bernie Ashe, CEO of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), unveiled the transport plan Thursday.

“The challenge is, how do we scale up, make sure we’re ready for 36,000 people who will be coming down to the game, rather than the 24,000, give or take, that we see at a regular game?” Ashe said before answering his own question.

“We know this works. We know we can scale it up. Make it fan friendly and visitor friendly.”

The pitch for bus travel shouldn’t be a hard sell. More than 50 per cent of Redblacks fans already use public transit to get to CFL games. The essential elements remain in place. A game ticket ensures free bus service to the game.

With the added array of Grey Cup festival events, anyone with a ticket for a festival event or for Sunday’s game can also ride OC Transpo and STO (Société de transport de l’Outaouais) for free, at certain times, from Nov. 22 to game day. On OC Transpo, the 450 series buses go to Lansdowne and the 800/850 series on STO.

Festival tickets ensure free rides from three hours before a specific event until three hours after. Game tickets allow free rides all day Nov. 26.

The Cup festival, chock full of parties, concerts and other events, has two main hubs: Lansdowne and the Shaw Centre, near the ByWard Market.

Getting from one to the other is easy. A shuttle, free for everyone, will run every 30 minutes between the Shaw Centre and Lansdowne, from Thursday to midnight Saturday.

The main difference on game day will be the closure of Bank Street in the Glebe. This is to allow the buses to get through to Lansdowne. The closure, from Fifth Avenue to Sunnyside, will begin around noon on the Sunday and will be fully in effect by 2 p.m. until around midnight.

There will be a curbside drop area for taxis along Fifth, between Bank and Rupert Street. The general pickup and drop-off area is on Fifth between Rupert and O’Connor.

Park-and-ride game day sites are at Canada Post, Vincent Massey (extra parking added) and city hall.

For the most optimistic of fans regarding Grey Cup weather, there will be bicycle parking at the Sunnyside library and at Sylvia Holden Park. There is no bike parking onsite at Lansdowne.

OSEG will consider next week’s transport plan a convenient dry run for the NHL 100 Outdoor Classic game at TD Place on Dec. 16. If tweaks are needed, they will be put in place. The hockey game between the Senators and Montreal Canadiens will have slightly fewer fans than the Grey Cup due to seating arrangements, probably 31,000 to 32,000, according to Ashe.

After years of talking about hosting this Grey Cup game and a full year working on a transportation plan, it’s nearly show time.

“We’re expecting a very successful week,” Ashe said. “We believe this is the best transportation plan that any Grey Cup has ever experienced.”

wscanlan@postmedia.com

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Anyone with a ticket for a Grey Cup festival event or for the game can ride OC Transpo and STO for free, at certain times, from Nov. 22 to game day, Nov. 26.
 

Anyone with a ticket for a Grey Cup festival event or for the game can ride OC Transpo and STO for free, at certain times, from Nov. 22 to game day, Nov. 26.

Photograph by: Tony Caldwell, Ottawa Citizen

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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