The brand new Chase Center arena opens in less than a month and a half, amid concerns that the 18,000-seat venue could bring massive traffic headaches into an area already afflicted with regular congestion. The Golden State Warriors have proposed their solution to that problem, as the Chronicle reports that the Warriors will pay for free Muni fare to anyone who attends a ballgame or concert at their new arena.
“We want people to take public transit to Chase Center, so we’re making it as cheap and easy to do so,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement after the announcement Tuesday. “This program allows Warriors fans and concert-goers to get to the front doors of Chase Center at no extra charge.”
Under this system, ticket holders can just flash their paper or electronic ticket, and it will count all day long for free rides until 2 a.m. the following morning. Muni says they’ll train staff to let such ticket holders in at the turnstiles.
So if you are a low income rider in the Bayview, you get to pay the fare while your train is packed to the gills with and slowed down by richer sports fans who ride for free. https://t.co/hnVzxG1aqd
— 🇧🇧🇹🇹🇺🇸👨👩👧👦🐕🌉 (@eparillon) July 24, 2019
This may indeed make a dent in downtown traffic during game nights and shows, but it seems curious to hand out free $2.50-$3 rides to people who just paid hundreds, if not thousands for tickets. Warriors tickets figure to be among the most expensive in the NBA this year, and tickets for the first few Chase Center concerts are going for as much as $2,000. These may not be the neediest Muni riders, particularly in the section of town with some of the most visible income inequality issues.
Still, the new free Muni fare system for Chase Center goes into effect when Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony open the new arena Friday, Sept. 6. The Warriors’ schedule has not been announced yet, but NBA home openers generally take place in mid-October.