Ridership in the first year of operation in the Phoenix Metro light rail was above projections, according to Valley Metro, who owns and run the light rail line. Now, what does it all average? Will that darn aim finally pay for itself, you say? keep up on there. It was never designed to pay for itself from the fares it collects. It cost $70 million per mile to build. It could not possibly pay for itself. We all contribute with our taxes, both local and Federal. (By the way, thank you all for your financial tax contribution.)
The weekday ridership projection at the first of the year was 26,000, and the actual came in at almost 35,000, which is almost a 34% increase. Saturday ridership was projected at a slightly lower 20,800; the actual was 27,662, which was an increase of 33%. This is good news for the outlook of light rail management. Now, the important thing is to build ridership and make it all worthwhile.
While there are many detractors, it has been built and is here to stay. We need to get over it. I lived in San Jose California when their light rail was built some years ago. First there were many complainers, and then the ridership was up past projections. Now, many students who were initial riders are now working adults. They have a different and functional view of the situation. Many would rather ride with their eyes on iPhones, listening to iPods, instead of cuss at how many fools are clogging the freeway lanes (just like them!).
You choose – which one are you?