Kansas City fans should have affordable transportation to see the Chiefs at Arrowhead | Opinion

John Sleezer/

Last season, we questioned how the average family of four could afford to attend a Kansas City Chiefs home game without breaking the bank. The single-game price for tickets, parking, snacks and drinks would be $820 for parents and two children. The organization should reward fans with cheaper options, we wrote.

As the Chiefs prepare for Thursday’s home opener against Detroit, our tune from last year hasn’t changed much: Hardworking families deserve to watch a game in person at Arrowhead Stadium.

Parking could keep some away from the Truman Sports Complex. This season, fans will pay $50 to park a regular size vehicle during Chiefs games, a steep price but the same as last year. We should all thank management for not upping the ante this year. The cost for RVs and buses is $130. That’s expensive.

So providing affordable transportation options to the game is a topic worth exploring. Why? Not every fan has access to a vehicle. Those who do drive may not be able to afford to park at Arrowhead.

And this is no knock on the organization. This team, with two Super Bowl championships in recent years and a star at quarterback in Patrick Mahomes, is a national draw.

Pregame festivities at Truman are considered among the league’s best. We can’t fault the organization for supplying the demand for parking or tickets. That’s just good business.

More opportunities exist to help fans to attend NFL games at an affordable cost, though.

Nashville’s InShuttle, a private company, teamed with the Tennessee Titans to offer park-and-ride services to and from Nissan Stadium for $15. The Chiefs front office should take note. Under a similar arrangement here, fans could use those extra savings at the concession stands.

To the Chiefs’ credit, parking is more expensive in other NFL cities. In Las Vegas, the price to park a RV, bus or van is $200. Once known as the Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders, that franchise has to pay down debt on its three-year-old home field somehow. Allegiant Stadium was built for $1.9 billion.

Still, Las Vegas’ transportation department operates a game day express service to home games for $2 per person, each way.

In this football-crazed town, where the Raiders are a hated rival, could a similar set-up work here?

Express bus service to stadium forbidden

Federal law prohibits the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority from providing shuttle service to Chiefs games, officials told us.

Years ago, KCATA operated more than 80 shuttle buses to Arrowhead Stadium, officials said. In 2008, federal regulations changed and the express service stopped. Transit agencies receiving federal funds could no longer provide direct shuttle service that would harm private charter companies.

Las Vegas’ Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada found a workaround KCATA must consider. Its game day express service to Allegiant Stadium operates on a regular schedule to and from different transit points, according to transportation officials there.

To keep in line with federal regulations, on game day, the service runs every 30 minutes to one hour and is priced as a normal route at $4 per round trip, Las Vegas officials said.

Here, only one public bus line runs daily near Arrowhead Stadium, according to the KCATA. The 47 Broadway line is not nearly as frequent or as fast as express service would be.

To see what other options are available, local public transportation leaders should call up their counterparts in Vegas.

How to watch Mahomes for less money

For the tens of thousands of fans contemplating driving to games this season at Arrowhead Stadium, here are a few ways to save money:

Consider pooling with friends or fellow fans.

Ride hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft may be useful. Be aware, though. Huge demand could lead to a price surge. Those costs add up quickly.

Plan ahead. Advance purchase of a mobile parking pass is required. No cash is accepted at the tollbooth, according to the team’s website.

If you pull up to the gate on game day without a parking pass, entry is not guaranteed — doesn’t matter if you have a game ticket or not.

Kansas City’s NFL franchise is closely watching developments with its neighbors at Truman Sports Complex. If the Royals move — owner John Sherman is eyeing potential sites for a new stadium — the Chiefs could renovate Arrowhead, rebuild on site or move. They’ll probably want public subsidies, a topic for another day.

However the team proceeds, talks must include plans to make it more cost effective for hardworking families to attend games at Arrowhead Stadium.