If you’ve been swept up in the Rangers’ season-long effort to continue winning despite half the team being injured, or by the Dwight Howard sweepstakes, then it might have escaped your view that FC Dallas is still holding strong at the top of the MLS. Our local soccer team is only three points behind Real Salt Lake for the top spot in the league.
And if you weren’t aware of that fact, then it’s probably unlikely you’ve heard about FCD Express, the team’s new bus routes shuttling passengers to and from games — complete with stops at a couple of bars.
The bus line has pick-up points at the Londoner Addison, Ginger Man in Plano, British Beverage Company in Uptown, and World of Beer on SMU Boulevard.
FC Dallas originally unveiled the Red Line on May 25 for fans in Addison and Plano who wanted to ride safely to and from the game, with pick-up points at the Londoner Addison and the Ginger Man at the Shops at Legacy.
The Blue Line, which first started running on June 22 for the Sporting KC game, begins at British Beverage Company in Uptown and then World of Beer on SMU Boulevard for fans in that area. Both buses leave 20 minutes after the final whistle.
Marketing coordinator Robert Casner says the two lines were the culmination of a plan by marketing director Robert Rardin to give fans a safe option to enjoy themselves at the game without worrying about driving. Casner has done ride-alongs with the Red Line twice and says that it’s drawn all types of fans.
“There was a family from Fort Worth that was saving money on toll roads who hadn’t been to a game in two or three seasons,” he says. “Some don’t have the means of transportation, but some are also season ticket owners in the beer garden who live in Addison, so it just makes sense.”
Bus tickets for both lines are $10 for a round-trip ride, but there’s also a $25 option that includes a ticket to the Budweiser Beer Garden, where the Dallas Beer Guardians provide the type of wild fandom usually reserved for college football. Casner says the team is looking to add the White Line — probably in Fort Worth — but there’s no timetable at the moment.
The FCD Express plans to keep pub partnerships for as long as possible to create a pre-game tradition for fans using the buses. “We want to make it as consistent as possible,” Casner says. “It’s to nail this message to our fans, and soon enough everyone is going take it. Ideally we can keep the same spots to get it programmed with everyone and make it second nature to start at BBC or the Londoner.”
The next game July 4 at 8 pm against Chivas USA. (Chivas currently has the second fewest points in the league with 12.) There is a fireworks show after the match, and the buses will stay for 20 minutes after the fireworks. Tickets can be purchased online or with FCD employees at the bars when the buses stop.