So, even though the adjacent room numbers are less, the direct access with rail and shuttles makes it more convenient for everyone else not directly adjacent to the con.There ARE options. If people simply cared enough to look.
There is not a 20 minute wait. Expedia lists several hotels within a few miles of the convention center. Its not like all the hotels are 15 miles away.
Yes, the purpose of the DART system is so that the hotels not near the convention center are connected by the system. There are multiple trains going the same direction along major stops with hotels. So the red and blue lines, for example have multiple trains so that you are not waiting 20 minutes.
Again, many of these hotels are already downtown. Imagine if Indy had a rail station that roughly stopped at monument circle and then at Lucas Oil. That's several of these hotels, only a stop or 2 away.
Just take a look at the DART map if you care to learn. Its a pretty good system.
Dallas Magazine - Dart Article
If you take a train to the convention center and it drops you off right outside, then you walk 0 blocks.
Its a public transport option we dont have now. And wont have in Indy.
Because they had small bus seating capacity and even though you scheduled for 7 am the night before, walk-ups or people from other hotels filled those slots, sometimes before the bus even got to your hotel on the route. It was awful. They clearly did NOT properly plan the system, nor run it well.
None of those things happen with a DART train. No one is cutting in line, and there are multiple lines that run. So you dont have one small shuttle an hour. You have many train cars multiple times running.
Is it perfect? No. But its an option we wont have in Indy.
And if you dont want to take the train, the convention center and hotels also have free shuttles. So thats even more options.
While I can't answer to every city, I live in Chicago. We are in the top 5 in most of the "Best Convention Cities" lists I looked at. We have two different centers and I nerd convention hard at both of them.
I would never consider the public transportation of either location to be 'easy and reliable' for the specific needs of Gen Con. It's okay(local shudder for local issues) for regular conventions, but not for Gen Con.
We are an odd con with needs outside what most convention cities anticipate.
1. We are a 24 hour con; we can't have stoppage after midnight.
2. There is no rigid schedule; so we would need continuous service.
3. The need for extra space (be it for cosplay, miniature armies, dealer room haul or game prep); so really busses and trains only seat about half the people.
4. We like, we like to party (or at least go out to eat); if the area near the convention center isn't hopping with options, we need the public transportation to take us there. Can I get back to the hotel with public trans from the restaurant or do I have to back to the center to get to my hotel?
That's a list that requires a robust system, that I know, personally, Chicago doesn't have for McCormick Place or Stephens Center and makes me curious about other top convention cities. I think for most people, if a city's public transportation can't handle the above list, they are going to do what we do in Indy now, drive themselves or Uber/Lyft.
posting WORST Ever
If your plans end at 3am, then you probably are stuck driving or a taxi. But most people wont be on that schedule. And Indy does not satisfy your needs in that regards either.
As for dinner plans, the Dallas shuttles will take you to the different places to eat for free:
Free shuttle bus (DART D-Link, Route 722) to Downtown, Arts District, Uptown, The Cedars, Bishop Arts District, Victory Park, and the West End
So where again can we move the convention so it suits your specific needs?
"All right, we're movin' the Con, everyone!"
People want to be able to drive to Gen Con, stay within walking distance of the con, and not have to walk in 100 degree plus heat. Realistically Indy is the best location for Gen Con, and it isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
The real elephant in the room is attendance. If Gen Con wants to continue to give gamers the experience it wants it needs to curb attendance, and it needs to do so without cutting back on true gaming events. Unfortunately we now have a bloat of people who aren't actually coming for gaming, and Indy can't continue to support a generic "anything that a gamer or a family member of a gamer can possibly be interested in" convention.