For better or worse, Saturday will be a season-defining day for USC football. Tens of thousands of football fans are expected to flood into the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena this weekend to watch the penultimate game of the regular season for both No. 7 USC and No. 16 UCLA.
In what is always an emotionally charged rivalry week, the stakes are high this season with the Trojans on the cusp of qualifying for the Pac-12 Championship or, with a stroke of luck, the College Football Playoff.
With UCLA removing four sponsor tarps from the Rose Bowl, capacity will increase to 70,865 for Saturday’s game. The capacity for other Bruins home games this season was 53,170. Even with the addition of seats, space is at a premium. As of Thursday, the cheapest single ticket available for the crosstown showdown was $199 on resale, according to Ticketmaster.
For USC students who are lucky enough to secure tickets to the game, actually getting to Pasadena can be a challenge on its own.
“We don’t offer any services to the game,” said Marcus Arvizu, senior transit manager at USC Transportation. “In the past we have serviced [to the Rose Bowl] once, but there were too many issues. It’s a difficult place to get into.”
Arvizu said that on the one occasion where transportation was provided, USC Transportation needed a police escort to make the trip to Pasadena possible since they were transporting President Carol Folt.
Both USC and UCLA students planning to make the trip are most likely to take a ride service or drive themselves.
“It’s pretty far away,” Leena Feda, a UCLA sophomore studying economics, said. “I’m just going with a friend and we’re gonna make a road trip to the Rose Bowl.”
If you plan on driving up to Pasadena, standard parking at the Rose Bowl is $35 and parking for oversized vehicles is $100. Prepaid online parking is discounted to $30. Alternative parking is also available at Parsons parking lot in Old Town Pasadena for a drive-up rate of $25. A free shuttle service is available to and from the stadium from the lot.
Additionally, the Metro Gold Line connects Union Station in Downtown L.A. to Pasadena. Students can take the Expo Line from Exposition Boulevard to Union Station and then catch the train to Pasadena. After getting off at Memorial Park Station, students can walk or catch a bus to the Rose Bowl. This is the most cost effective option by far, since a one day pass for Metro is currently only $3.50.
Students may also pursue using rideshare programs to get to the Rose Bowl, but those who do will likely face steep prices — especially on Saturday night as rideshare prices tend to be affected by demand and availability.
These steep prices, however, won’t get you directly to the stadium. Jeffrey Shepard, a junior studying business, says that arriving via Uber or Lyft isn’t the end of the line.
“After an expensive ride, you’ve gotta make the decision whether to walk two miles to the stadium or pay for the $10 shuttle,” he said.
Shepard noted that he and his friends took an Uber to a UCLA game last year and then made the trek up to the stadium, but they would have appreciated a heads up.
UCLA expects 16,700 students to go to Saturday’s game, the largest student section in the history of Bruins football. Nicknamed “The Den,” UCLA’s student section will take up four of 26 sections at the Rose Bowl.
While prices may be high and transportation will cause headaches, many USC students remain determined to travel to Pasadena to support the Trojans.
“When I saw the prices of the tickets I was shocked, but I’m getting to that game,” Alexa Grenley, a junior studying communications, said.
Grenley advised finding USC friends from the area or staying with some cross-town contacts to help avoid a long, expensive ride home.