How to get to football games at Dolphin Stadium
UM officials plan transportation options
By: Ramon Galiana and Chelsea Kate Isaacs // Contributing News Writer and News Editor
Instead of catching the Metrorail, University of Miami students will ride chartered American Coach buses that will leave Stanford Circle several hours before home games. The buses will be monitored by either staff or students - the university has not yet decided.
"The buses will depart from UM within a range of times convenient for students ? anywhere from three hours to a half an hour before game time," said Dan Westbrook, director of the University Center. "We haven't set exact numbers, as of now."
Westbrook explained that UM officials will try to be as "flexible and accommodating" to students as possible.
In order to ride the shuttles, students will be required to obtain stickers from the University Center's TicketMaster outlet, located just outside the convenience store near the Information Desk area. These stickers, which will be placed on students' Cane Cards before each game, will be distributed 10 days before most games, but distribution will stop two days prior, which means students cannot wait until game day to pick up stickers.
However, games that are close in dates are an exception to the 10 day rule. If two games are less than 10 days apart from one another, the university will not allow students the opportunity to obtain their stickers 10 days in advance.
"If two games are two days apart, we can't let students get their stickers 10 days in advance for the second game because it would cause confusion [about which game the sticker indicates admission into]," Westbrook said. "Students must wait until after the first game is over in order to get a sticker for the next game."
The Division of Student Affairs released a survey to determine the number of students who would use the transportation.
Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia A. Whitely said the university plans to have about 20 buses for low attendance games and at least 50 buses for more popular games.
The number of buses will not be capped, Whitely said, so there can be more for popular games, such as against FSU. The buses will stay in the BankUnited Center parking lot the night before to limit delays on game day.
"This is a challenge, and you also have to remember that the freshmen are not going to have cars," Whitely said. "Because of that, we're going have to have more infrastructure to make sure this is smooth and make sure that it works."
Students who do not obtain stickers for games may still have a chance to find a seat on a bus.
"We plan on ordering extra buses for most games," Westbrook said. "Although we will give priority seating to students with stickers, students without them will most likely find a seat, but they will probably be on one of the last buses to leave campus."
Daniel Poterek, a law student, trusts the university's capacity to run the operations smoothly.
"Sure, the ride to the stadium will be longer, but that gives you more time to bond with fellow students and energize that Hurricane spirit," he said.
Though plans are incomplete, the university does plan on updating the student body over the summer and during orientation about the new changes.
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Special instructions for the first game
For the Canes first game ever at Dolphin Stadium on Aug. 28, there will be special instructions for students.
Rather than only distributing stickers at University Center, there will be distribution stations all over campus, including distribution of stickers by Resident Assistants in the Residential Colleges.
"We are going to be very generous with our stickers so students get acquainted with using them," said Westbrook. "For the first game, we just want students to be introduced to this new process."
In addition, freshmen will have the opportunity to take buses specifically for "freshmen only."
"The freshmen buses will help new students participate in the Freshman Walk," Westbrook said. The Freshman Walk is an annual tradition that allows new UM students to walk on the football field before the game.
The freshman buses are expected to leave from a location that is close to the Stanford and Hecht Residential Colleges, the primarily freshmen dormitories. The exact location has not yet been determined.
"For this game, we are ordering extra buses. Lots and lots of buses," added Westbrook. "The stickers are just going to remind students that for the rest of the season, this is the system we are going to use."