Seattle's new NHL team will be the third sports franchise in the country to offer free public transportation to their games, according to a report from Fast Company. The yet-to-be-named Seattle franchise joins the NBA's Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors with this amenity.
"We're a very environmentally focused city," said Rob Johnson, NHL Seattle's vice president of transportation and a former Seattle City Council member and transit advocate, to Fast Company. "One of the best ways for us to reduce our environmental footprint is to get people onto public transit and reduce the number of folks that are driving."
The public transportation will be a part of the city's new light rail extension that is set to be completed in 2021, which is the year NHL Seattle is expected to enter the league for its first full regular season. Of course, it's not just about the environment. Johnson also told Fast Company that he wanted to keep the maximization of the fan experience in mind when making this decision, referring to the outdoor Kings-Avalanche game where traffic was so bad, fans demanded refunds due to how much of the game it forced them to miss.
"We're very cognizant of that fact and that fan-experience impact," Johnson says, "and we're starting to hope that other sports franchises are going to be cognizant of that fact, too, and start to really encourage a lot more [transportation] choices, particularly when they exist."
NHL Seattle will reportedly be the ones subsidizing these passes. That amount is flexible based on the expansion of public transportation services, and data the team gathers on where fans are coming from.