weather icon Partly Cloudy

RTC’s Golden Knights Express sees ridership grow in 2nd season

Updated August 30, 2019 - 5:34 pm

The Vegas Golden Knights have packed fans into T-Mobile Arena during their magical first two NHL seasons.

With the arena sitting off busy Las Vegas Boulevard, some fans have chosen to leave the driving to the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada via its VGK Express service.

Through the first two years the Golden Knights Express service has transported almost 100,000 fans — inbound and outbound combined — to and from 101 Knights home games, according to the RTC. Ridership jumped from 40,679 in the 2017-18 season to 57,920 last season.

“We have been thrilled with the RTC Golden Knights Express ridership through our first two seasons,” said Kerry Bubolz, Golden Knights president. “Our goal was to provide our fans with as many convenient options as possible when commuting to the Fortress. The Golden Knights Express is a safe, affordable and convenient option to get to and from our games.”

The service, which picks up and drops off fans at park-and-ride locations, has generated more than $160,000 in revenue over the two years, transporting riders on four routes (with Route 606 serving two locations last year) each year. Eleven vehicles were used on game days last year, with a $2 each way fee.

With the service growing in ridership from year one to year two, RTC CEO Tina Quigley sees that trend continuing this year when the Golden Knights start preseason play Sept. 15.

“Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool we have,” Quigley said. “We’re such a small community, and the hockey fans are a small demographic of that. So the more the users spread the word, the more ridership we’re seeing.”

The RTC has agreements with the establishments they use as park-and-ride locations that benefit both the RTC and the establishments, Quigley said.

“It’s a win for all of our community because we’re reducing congestion off the roads,” she said. “It’s a win for our riders because they get a really easy ride and a pre-party experience on the way to the game.”

The fans build up energy on the buses that they carry into the arena, Bubolz said.

“The bus rides themselves can be a lot of fun,” he said. “They are always full of passionate Golden Knights fans who are excited for the game.”

2019-20 season plan

The plan for the Golden Knights Express for the 2019-20 NHL seasons again features four routes, serving five locations in the Las Vegas Valley.

All routes will drop off and pick up riders at a stop where Frank Sinatra Drive connects with an access road north of the Excalibur parking garage. From there riders can walk to and from T-Mobile Arena.

After each game, all routes depart the arena 20 minutes and 30 minutes after the game ends. Routes 605 and 606 have a third departure 40 minutes after a game ends.

Route 605 — Summerlin

Park-and-ride location: Red Rock Resort, 11011 W. Charleston Boulevard.

Departure times before games begin:

— 1 hour, 55 minutes.

— 1 hour, 35 minutes.

— 1 hour, 15 minutes.

Length of ride: 35 minutes.

Route 606 — Henderson

Park-and-ride location: Green Valley Ranch, 2300 Paseo Verde Parkway.

Additional stop: PT’s Ranch, 2430 E. Pebble Road.

Departure times before games begin:

— 1 hour, 55 minutes.

— 1 hour, 35 minutes.

— 1 hour, 15 minutes.

Length of ride: 30 minutes.

Route 607 — Centennial Hills

Park-and-ride location: Santa Fe Station, 4949 North Rancho Road.

Departure times before games begin:

— 1 hour, 45 minutes.

— 1 hour, 25 minutes.

Length of ride: 35 minutes.

Route 608 — Southwest

Park-and-ride location: Sierra Gold, 6515 S. Jones Blvd.

Departure times before games begin:

— 1 hour, 35 minutes.

— 1 hour, 15 minutes.

Length of ride: 20 minutes.

Raiders plan

With the success of the Golden Knights Express, the RTC is working on putting together a similar service for Raiders games when the $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat Allegiant Stadium opens next year.

Raiders President Marc Badain said it was too early to reveal what those plans would include but confirmed the team is working with RTC as part of their parking and transportation plan.

Using the Golden Knights Express as a blueprint, the service will be replicated as part of Raiders game fan transportation, Quigley said.

“The goal is to create those partnerships and get cars off the road and get people to the games safely and quickly,” she said.

More Golden Knights: Follow at reviewjournal.com/GoldenKnights and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.