If Green Bay Packers fans want to avoid gameday traffic and parking at Lambeau Field, now they can, for free.
The Green Bay Metro transit system, in partnership with the Packers and the City of Green Bay, will begin offering this season four different free bus routes to and from Lambeau Field.
The service will run from five hours before kickoff until three hours after the end of the game.
Details on the four routes, all of which contain numerous stops, are as follows:
The "Lambeau Leap" route originates from the Green Bay Metro center downtown with a round trip of 20-25 minutes.
The "Quick Slant" route originates from the corner of Reid and 4th streets in De Pere with a round trip of roughly 20 minutes.
The "Cheesehead" route covers the airport and some of its surrounding hotels with a round trip of 40-50 minutes.
The "QB Sneak" route begins at the Country Inn & Suites near Interstate 43 and East Mason Street with a round trip of 45-55 minutes.
These routes will run during all of the Packers' Sunday day games, and for the game Christmas night against the Chicago Bears.
For the other two night games – on Thursday, Sept. 8, and Monday, Nov. 14 – Green Bay Metro will run its regular fixed routes until 1 a.m. and add the "Cheesehead" route for those evenings.
Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy said that, until now, Lambeau Field had been the only NFL stadium without public transportation service on game days.
"We're always trying to improve the gameday experience for our fans," Murphy said. "We're very proud of the fact that a number of publications have ranked us as the No. 1 gameday experience in the NFL, and we think this will just add to that."
Green Bay Metro director Tom Wittig noted that the new service's roots go back as far as 1947, when there was a city bus route that took fans to City Stadium, when Curly Lambeau was the head coach.
Moreover, the bus service provides a safe option for fans whose gameday festivities might put them in compromising positions.
"Green Bay Metro's message is you might have to walk four or five blocks after the game when you get off the bus to get home, but that's a lot better than having a great time, having one too many, and having to ride 5 or 6 miles home in your car," Wittig said.
Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt, who will be with the Packers at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Friday, plans to thank President Barack Obama in part for this service because the government stimulus package helped pay for a half-dozen new city buses.
One of the goals was to find a way to service both the local Packers fans and those visiting from out of town, and having a route to the stadium from all four directions, including the "Cheesehead" route from the airport, accomplishes that.
"Lambeau Field is so iconic and it's on the bucket list of so many fans, and so many people come from out of town on gameday, I think the service from the airport here will be extremely popular for our fans," Murphy said.