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Bus fare no big deal for football fans

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Bomber fans board a bus at Osborne Station for the ride to Investors Group Field for Monday night's CFL exhibition game between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Toronto Argonauts.

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Bomber fans board a bus at Osborne Station for the ride to Investors Group Field for Monday night's CFL exhibition game between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Toronto Argonauts. Photo Store

It's just a couple bucks, a side issue compared with how the team intends to haul itself out of its slump.

That's the feeling among some fans taking transit to tonight's Winnipeg Blue Bombers exhibition game at Investors Group Field. After an eleventh-hour showdown with the city, the Winnipeg Football Club was forced last week to begin charging ticket holders the full fare for transit rides to the stadium, which some fear will dissuade riders, boost traffic and parking woes and add to fans' general crankiness.

Not likely, said season ticket holder Tom Donahue as he waited for a bus to the stadium from Osborne Village.

"Come on, it's two-and-a-half bucks," said Donahue as he waited for the 161 super express at the rapid transit station.

Plus, even if fans were mad about the new fare, driving is still not attractive, added wife Randi.

"There aren't a lot of parking options like at the old stadium," she said.

The couple said they aren't expecting much traffic mayhem this evening since it's an exhibition game and the transit and park-and-ride process worked great last season after the initial hiccups.

The couple were more anxious to see the the fresh players, new coach and renewed momentum.

"It's not the old team," said Donahue. "Which I would not want to see again."

An hour before kickoff, buses to IGF were just starting to get crowded and traffic along Pembina Highway was reportedly relatively light.

Motorists driving to the stadium may have to contend with lane closures on Pembina Highway just south of University Crescent. There, median lanes in both directions are closed for summer road work, which could slow drivers trying to get into and out of the stadium via Chancellor Matheson Road.

Tim Verry, who may hit his 500th home game this season, said he'll use his monthly bus pass to hop a bus to the game. But even if he had to pay the $2.55 fare, he would. And he said the new transit fare has sparked so much grouchiness among fans partly because the team is in the doldrums.

"It's kind of on top of some of the negativity," said Verry. "If the club starts doing well, a lot of this will dissipate."

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