By Sergio Legorreta
Getting to McLane Stadium on game day has become a varied experience for football fans as shuttles, pedicabs and pontoons became available for the first time.
Three buses filed in just before 3:30 p.m. to pick up dozens of passengers at the intersection of Fifth Street and Austin Avenue, where a bloc party took place with food trucks and souvenir stands.
Passengers were taken to the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Interstate 35, one block from McLane Stadium.
The Woodlands senior Eric VerPloeg rode the shuttle Sunday with three friends and said it was a convenient form of transportation.
“It was fast,” VerPloeg said. “There was not a long wait. It was crowded but quick and free.”
Shuttles will continue to run until 11 p.m.
However, the lines and wait for shuttle service were too long for some.
“There were too many people,” said Kim Smith, a Baylor alumna. “It seemed too long of a wait, so we decided to walk instead.”
Dozens of alumni and students also made the decision to walk along University Parks Drive to McLane Stadium from downtown, where they parked for free.
For those who didn’t want to make the trek in the heat, pedicabs were also available for $10 per rider.
Andrey Sokolov, a pedicab driver from Austin, said he and other pedicab drivers came to Waco specifically to obtain permits for game days. Sokolov said the community of drivers is well-acquainted and travels as a group for these type of events because the pedicab industry is a small one.
“There was a window of opportunity that opened up,” Sokolov said.
The handful of pedicabs were scattered downtown near the bus shuttle stop and transported passengers to the Umphrey Bridge. The rides were about 3 miles long and took 10 to 15 minutes one-way, Sokolov said.
Dustin Dunham, Baylor alumnus, rode the pedicab from downtown with two friends and said the experience was enjoyable.
“The pedicab ride was great,” Dunham said. “There was a nice breeze and it was a good price. We had heard about the bus shuttles but when we didn’t see them right away, we hopped on a pedicab.”
Another new game day travel option for those wanting to cruise the Brazos River is pontoon boats. Outdoor Waco had one pontoon available to rent during Sunday’s game, but is in the process of obtaining two more pontoons by Baylor’s next game Saturday, according to Outdoor Waco employees.
Pontoon boats will be available to rent not just on football game days but also for special events, with prices starting at $250.