The Atlanta Braves released the third and final phase of their transportation plan for SunTrust Park on Monday, focusing on a new pilot program from ride-sharing app Uber and the capabilities of the MLB Ballpark application.
Normally, when a customer hails an Uber, they are told to be on the lookout for the type of car their assigned driver will be in. This will create problems at SunTrust Park when hundreds of people are expected to be trying to flag down a ride.
To get around this issue, Braves fans who hail an Uber outside SunTrust Park will be given a PIN code that they can then give to any driver in the designated pickup zone to start their ride.
“That alleviates the need to find a specific driver in a very congested area and should create a much more streamlined and straightforward process,” said Uber Atlanta General Manager Luke Marklin. “That’s an exciting innovation.
We’ve tested it at other events and are really excited to roll it out here at SunTrust Park. The keynote is that the core Uber experience remains the same. Every rider still will go to their app, they will still enter their destination, request a ride as usual.”
Mike Plant, president of development for the Braves, said fans took an average of 600 Uber rides at Turner Field in Atlanta last year and estimates that number could climb as high as 1,000 at SunTrust Park.
Also on Monday, the Braves displayed a map that shows how Uber riders will travel to and from the game. Fans heading to SunTrust Park will take Cobb Parkway and turn onto Windy Ridge Parkway, where they will be dropped off in a special zone specifically for Ubers. After the game ends, Uber drivers will pick up fans in the same location, then take Windy Ridge Parkway to Circle 75 Parkway and turn left, headed towards Windy Hill Road.
Also on Monday, Eric Meyer, planning division manager for Cobb transportation, unveiled three routes its new Cumberland Circulator will take starting on Friday, just in time for the Braves exhibition game against the New York Yankees that evening. Two of the routes will hit the same stops but in different directions, Meyer said.
“The core route … will run clockwise and counterclockwise, connecting the transfer center next to Cumberland Mall to SunTrust Park, Cobb Energy Centre, Cobb Galleria and many other office, retail and residential developments,” Meyer said. “The South route, running down Cumberland Parkway, will connect a lot of other office and residential developments, including Home Depot’s headquarters.”
The Braves also touted the myriad of uses for Major League Baseball’s Ballpark smartphone application at Monday’s event, including the ability to buy tickets and parking passes, guide drivers to their parking spaces using traffic navigation application Waze and even serving as a ticket itself, providing a barcode to be scanned at SunTrust Park’s gates.
“The idea is to make (the application) a one-stop shop to get you to SunTrust Park,” said Greg Mize, director of digital for the Braves.
The Ballpark application is free for all fans, whether they have a ticket or not, said Derek Schiller, president of business for the Braves. This increased functionality for the application will launch on Friday.
Plant again encouraged fans to purchase tickets and parking passes in advance, saying it not only helps fans get to their parking lot easier, but it also gives the Braves more data to use in traffic management.
“Like any type of university campus, other sporting venues, other entertainment venues, in today’s world, you have to plan early,” Plant said. “Planning is the key before you leave your house or place of work or wherever you’re coming from, and part of that planning is … buy a ticket early, buy parking online, use Uber and Waze to help you get here, and then that experience is going to be better for you and for everyone. Because if you don’t do that in today’s world, you’re going to show up at a certain place and time and then try to figure it out, and that’s probably not the most efficient way for you to take advantage of all things we’ve done to build this plan.”