Phoenix-area sports fans headed for a scheduled event of the NBA Suns or WNBA Mercury basketball teams at US Airways Center can present their game tickets as a valid light rail fare, Valley Metro announced Thursday. The program begins October 1 and will run through Sept. 30,2010.
Other events at US Airways Center, including concerts and family shows, are also included in the package, billed as the Rail Ride Event program. The 20-mile, $1.4 billion Metro light rail line, serving Phoenix, Mesa, and Tempe, Ariz., opened for revenue service Dec. 27, 2008.
"This program will encourage use of the system as a great way to get to and from events at US Airways Center," said Tom Simplot, vice mayor of Phoenix and chair of the Metro Board of Directors. "The Rail Ride Event program will encourage new riders who will soon discover how convenient, efficient and safe the system is."
“Suns fans who used light rail to travel to games last year told us that being able to avoid traffic and parking issues, as well as the ease and convenience of the trip, resulted in an experience that enhanced their enjoyment of attending a game,” said Phoenix Suns President and CEO Rick Welts. “We appreciate the willingness and creativity the leadership at Metro light rail demonstrated in developing this program for all US Airways Center events.”
“Special event and recreation-oriented trips are already asignificant portion of our ridership,” said Valley Metro CEO Richard Simonetta. "Teaming up with the Suns and a great venue like US Airways Center just takes it to the next level.”
Said US Airways General Manager Ralph Marchetta, “Whether attending a Suns or Mercury game, a concert, the Ringling Brothers Circus, or a Disney on Ice Show, we believe having a ticket that includes round-trip transportation on Metro light rail will actually result in more people attending events at US Airways Center.”