Back-Seat Driver

Back-seat Driver: Regional Transit to discuss downtown plans with Republic FC officials

Tony Bizjak
Tony Bizjak

Major League Soccer officials will visit Sacramento next month to decide if the capital city is a contender for an expansion team. One thing they’ll want to know: Where would a stadium go, and how do fans get to it?

MLS likes stadiums in downtowns, next to restaurants and bars, not next to sprawling suburban-style parking lots. On that account, Sacramento probably rates well. A recent survey by Sacramento’s soccer club, Sacramento Republic FC, found that more than 40 percent of fans would prefer to get to matches by means other than cars, including taking light rail or buses, biking and walking, or taking taxis.

When Republic FC played several matches at Hughes Stadium earlier this year, more than 4,000 fans took light-rail trains per game. “Our trains were packed,” RT General Manager Mike Wiley said. “We added supplemental trains and those were packed. And we didn’t do a heck of a lot of promotions or advertising. ”

With that experience in mind, Wiley will meet with local soccer officials as they prepare for the MLS visit, to offer them details about RT’s downtown plans. Those include a new light-rail station on the line that passes through the downtown railyard, right next to one of the key sites being considered for a major-league soccer stadium.

RT doesn’t plan to build that railyard station yet. But Wiley said the agency could adjust its plans to have a station up and running there if a soccer stadium were built. RT could potentially use that station only during events for a few years until development fills in around it, he said.

Wiley has also had meetings with the Sacramento Kings basketball team about ways RT and the Kings can partner at some point to boost light rail and bus service at the arena planned to open at the Downtown Plaza site in late 2016.

Football train

Capitol Corridor trains will deliver 49ers fans directly to the football team's new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara this year, starting this weekend with a 25 percent ticket discount for people attending the inaugural game, officials announced this week.

The new stadium is a five-minute walk from the Capitol Corridor’s Santa Clara/Great America train station.

The ride from downtown Sacramento to the stadium is two hours, 40 minutes long. Officials say riders from the Sacramento region have the option of three trains that will get them to the stadium prior to the 1 p.m. kickoff. Several trains will be available for the postgame return ride. Officials said trains have Wi-Fi available and a “cafe car” that serves food and drink, including beer, wine and other alcohol.

For information or tickets, go to the website at and click on the “special offers” and “promotions” links.

The National Football League limits the bags that can be brought into the stadium. Visit for information.

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