Churchill Downs shuttling system looks to make commute to track more efficient

Despite thousands of people venturing in and out of Churchill Downs, people say they are impressed with the efficiency of the shuttling system.
Published: May. 4, 2023 at 11:36 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - About 250,000 people will be loading into Churchill Downs the next few days and thanks to a shuttling system, folks can park for free.

Parking always seems like an issue at the Downs but construction seems to have caused even more congestion.

People seem to be pretty happy with the shuttling system from the Kentucky Expo Center to Churchill Downs, however.

Attendees called it quick, easy and efficient.

It also helps to have workers who seem to love their jobs to help make the experience even better.

The dings and bells that come with horse racing is a part of what brings thousands of people to Churchill each year.

However in the past, just getting on site has been difficult.

That’s why Churchill Downs set up a free shuttling system from the Kentucky Expo Center to the compound.

A system that has garnered great results.

“I love it! This is the first time I’ve experienced this. We’ve come, like I said, the last couple of years and it was easy,” Thurby Attendee Amy Dickman said. “There was no waiting in line really, I mean there were very short lines and very smooth, less walking.”

“Excellent! It was great! We catch that every year and it’s the best thing going,” some Thurby attendees said. “It’s better than walking miles and miles away? Oh yeah! It’s been hard to find a parking spot.”

Who can blame them? Thursday saw minimal lines and people were able to travel from the Expo Center to the Downs in less than 7 minutes.

That wasn’t the case for everyone. Some people said they waited up to 45 minutes to get on a bus.

Still, people like Tara Jones said they prefer the wait over the alternative.

“Because some people like to wears heels but I have on my flats today,” Jones said. “But some people like to wear heels and it’s hard for our women to walk and it was such a great convenience and they should do this every year.”

And even if there is a wait, workers like Jenna Mitchell are there to make things more entertaining.

“It’s good to get that negative energy out of, ‘Aw, now I have to wait in line,’ you know what I’m saying,” Bus Supervisor Jenna Mitchell said. “But instead it’s, ‘Look we’re happy,’ you know what I’m saying?”

Mitchell said she loves to make people laugh and smile and hopes she can show how what might be a meaningless task, can still bring joy.

“The world just needs someone to make them smile and make sure they know that there are happy people out here and there are people that are just going to be genuinely happy and genuinely joyful,” Mitchell shared.

While lines may not have been an issue today, both Oaks and Derby are expected to more than double Thurby’s output.

Some suggest getting to the Expo Center early to avoid long waits and lines to get into Churchill.

To learn more about travel and parking for Oaks and Derby you can visit the Churchill Downs website.