Friday, November 5, 2010

Smooth Sailing to UL Game

On my recent trip to a basketball game at the University of Louisville’s new downtown arena, the only traffic I encountered was barge traffic.

My son, Trent, and I avoided the regular bumper-to-bumper by boarding a boat called The Spirit of Jefferson in Jeffersonville, Ind., and taking it across the Ohio River to U of L’s beautiful new arena. Around 15 minutes later, we were dropped off just three blocks from the KFC Yum! Center. Following the game, we walked back to the river, boarded the boat again and were returned safely to the sunny side of Louisville.

The roundtrip cost $10 per person, which is really a bargain. We easily could have spent that on parking alone. But the real selling point is the aggravation you save. Once you’re back to the car, it’s smooth sailing all the way home.

A tip of the Cardinal cap to Jeffersonville Mayor Tom Galligan for envisioning this innovative transportation alternative. Galligan will evaluate the program after six games to see if it’s successful. If so, it will continue the rest of the season. Here’s hoping that happens. I’ve been told around 2,500 U of L basketball season ticketholders live in southern Indiana. Surely, many will want to get on board with this, so to speak.

Galligan, of course, hopes boat riders will linger in Jeffersonville before or after the games and support its attractions. I, for one, have no problem repaying Galligan’s kindness with hot wings and cold beer.

In the meantime, there are a few tweaks that would make the trip even better. Primarily, the boat’s management needs to communicate more with passengers. They should make announcements as the boat departs and arrives, direct you to the arena, tell you when to return, etc. It wouldn’t hurt to wish the Cards well while they’re at it. In other words, just make the trip a little more hospitable.

I’m sure they will refine things over time. After all, this was just the maiden voyage … and a darn fine one.

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