Monday, February 23, 2009

Phoenix warms to light rail

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Phoenix warms to light rail Valley METRO

Add Phoenix to the growing list of cities with a successful light rail launch. The 20-mile LRT line, which debuted late last December, averaged 30,600 riders per weekday, significantly above the 26,000 boardings per weekday anticipated by Metro.

Total January ridership was nearly 912,000, which was higher than the monthly total anticipated after one year of service, according to Metro Chief Executive Officer Rick Simonetta. Simonetta noted that Saturday ridership contributed to the overall number, with 10,000 more riders than expected. “We are very pleased with these numbers,” Simonetta told Metro’s governing board, noting that trains often were near capacity even outside rush hour peak loads.

Metro nevertheless is preparing for a ridership falloff when warmer weather arrives, though the authority is not certain how severe the impact might be.