Since 2001, Tri Delta Transit has been working with the 49er corporate office to operate bus service to each of the team's home games. Now, eight years later, ridership continues to climb and the reason, said one enthusiast, is simple:
"It's pure luxury," said Brentwood resident Vince Guise. "And it's a bargain. I actually think they should charge more. I would definitely do it again. It was a real treat."
For a $10 round-trip ticket, riders can hop on at one of Tri Delta's designated locations, sit back in the air-conditioning and enjoy the ride.
The bus picks up residents at the Park-N-Ride lot off of Walnut Boulevard in Brentwood and the Hillcrest lot in Antioch. In Pittsburg, riders can catch the bus at the Park-N-Ride lot at Railroad and Bliss avenues.
"It's a very successful program and each year it gets more and more popular," said Jeanne Krieg, Tri Delta Transit's CEO. "What's really great about it is that the 49er organization really supports public transportation. It's a lot of fun, too."
The shuttles are greyhound-style commuter buses complete with luggage compartments for storing tailgating equipment and coolers. VCRs are available for passengers to enjoy a movie or a tape of a previous game.
Once the buses arrive, usually an hour or so before kickoff, they are afforded priority parking. And when the game's over, the express buses are the first vehicles allowed out of the park.
For Supervisor Federal Glover, a 49er season ticketholder, all it took was one trip on the Delta Express to make him a believer.
"It's a comfort zone once you get on that bus," said Glover, who has been taking the shuttle service for three seasons. "I can relax, get there in plenty of time and not have to worry about traffic. I am totally sold."
As added incentive, all riders who take the express bus to a 49er game get their name entered into a lottery. At the end of the season, the lucky winner will be the recipient of a Joe Montana autographed football.
"It's just a fun promotion," said Krieg. "It's a new little thing we're offering this year."
Also new this year is an extension to the Kaiser facility in Martinez. Route 200, which currently goes to the county hospital in Martinez, has added the new stop at Kaiser.
"Most people who live in East County go to the Martinez Kaiser," said Krieg. "So we're very happy to be able to offer this new stop. Things are good; we look forward to another great year."
For more information on the Delta Express bus route or other information, call 754-4040, or 754-6622. You can also visit the Web site, www.trideltatransit.com.