Kansas University's football team may face a long road to qualify for a bowl game, but KU fans along for the ride can sit back and relax.
On the way to Memorial Stadium, anyway.
Five businesses are offering charter bus rides to and from the stadium for today's 12:30 p.m. game against Colorado, the first of the Jayhawks' final three regular-season games.
KU needs to win all three to qualify for the postseason, but the restaurants and bars on the bus route already can claim financial victories.
"This town just explodes for Homecoming or any kind of home game, especially if it's a big game," said Dayre Lashnits, manager of 75th Street Brewery. "It's huge for us to be so involved."
The brewery, which opened in April, opened the football season with a whimper: Only three people bought $5 tickets to ride the bus from the parking lot at the corner of Clinton Parkway and Kasold Drive.
But the Oct. 9 Kansas State game packed the bus with about 60 people, and the business' $170 game-day investment paid off with at least $2,500 in additional business.
"We love it," Lashnits said.
The Lawrence Bus Co. has been running the program for more than a decade as a way to help relieve congestion on city streets, said Debbie Kelley, a manager who's been with the company for 20 years.
|Five Lawrence businesses offer charter bus service to and from Memorial Stadium for today's KU game against Colorado.Buses leave at noon from the businesses, which sell tickets for the rides:¢ Bucky's Drive In, 2120 W. Ninth St.¢ Jet Lag Lounge, 610 Fla.¢ Johnny's Tavern, 401 N. Second St.¢ 75th Street Brewery, 3512 Clinton Parkway.¢ Yacht Club, 530 Wis.|
"Our boss is a big Jayhawk fan," she said. "We just do it to help everyone out, and we enjoy doing it."
The brewery and West Coast Saloon already have signed up to provide charter bus rides for KU men's basketball games at Allen Fieldhouse.
Bob Gruenwald, a West Coast co-owner, said that the hoops transportation offered a successful recipe for the past decade: Game-day sales rise 20 percent to 30 percent, while customers have a chance to grab food before the game and beverages afterward.
"And, obviously, in December, January and February, the bus drops you off right at the front door at Allen and you don't have to worry about being cold or walking for eight blocks," he said.