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Owners of the Ballpark Bus looking to increase their fleet

photoTimes-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny Nats fans load the Ballpark Bus at Clyde’s in Broadlands during a recent trip to Nationals Stadium.

After only eight months in business the Ballpark Bus is working to increase its fleet to keep up with demand.

The business, which launched in April by Loudoun residents Jason Watlington and Brian Bowman, hit its stride during the Redskins season. A third partner is silent.

For the Dec. 30 game against the Dallas Cowboys, two buses were needed to drive fans out to the game. This came on the heels of back-to-back sellouts to the Redskins’ games against the Giants and Ravens.

“We’ve definitely turned a corner over the last month or so,” Bowman, partner and director of marketing said. “We were thrilled to send sold-out buses to the last two games, and when we sold this week’s bus out by Wednesday afternoon, adding a second bus was a no-brainier.”

The concept for the bus is simple. Fans can pay a price –  for the Redskins’ games it’s $29 –  to ride to the events in comfort. The bus takes off from Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm in Ashburn.

Food and beverages, including alcohol, are allowed on board the bus, adding to the experience.

“Getting to and from the game is now half the fun, and Loudoun County fans are responding in kind,” Bowman said.

The partners credit the Redskins’ six-game winning streak, along with the signing of rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, as having played major roles in their success.

“Timing is everything, especially when you are starting a new business,” Watlington said.  “The Nats won their division this year, and now the Redskins are playing for the NFC East title. We’d like to take credit for being such savvy businessmen, but the reality is we’re just die-hard fans who have been very lucky.”

The bus provides service to most D.C. sports events as well as concerts. A May 25 bus is already planned for the Kenny Chesney concert at FedEx Field.

During the Nats’ season last year, the partners required a minimum number of passengers before a bus trip was guaranteed. Next season, Bowman said every bus will be confirmed from the start.

“We anticipate running to every Saturday and Sunday game, as well as special weekday games such as opening day and July 4th,” Bowman said.

A major goal for the new year is to expand to multiple locations from which the bus can pick up passengers. Right now the bus will continue to pick up passengers exclusively out of Clyde’s, he said.

“… We’ll see what kind of progress we can make on that during the off season,” Bowman said.

To purchase a seat on the Ballpark Bus, visit http://www.ballparkbus.com

For past coverage, see: Drive me out to the ballpark


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