Light Rail Frequency


From the Arizona Republic this morning:

THE ISSUE: Light-rail rates, frequency

WHO SAID IT: Phoenix City Council can­didate Austin Head, a DJ and event pro­ducer.

THE FORUM: Head’s comment appeared on on July 8.

WHAT WE’RE LOOK­ING AT: “When opened, the light-rail system was operated on a six times per peak hour schedule. Since that time, rates have increased 33 percent and the ser­vice has decreased to five times per peak hour,” Head said.

ANALYSIS: Head, who is running for City Council District 4 in central Phoe­nix, was responding to the question: “If elected, what’s the first proposal you would make — either for the city as a whole or for your district?”

He said he would propose expanding light-rail service in “both hours of oper­ation and number of trains per peak hour.”

Metro light rail debuted in December 2008.

When the system launched, trains ar­rived at stations every 10 minutes — six times an hour — during weekday peak hours, which were from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Trains ran every 20 minutes during off-peak hours, which include week­ends and holidays, said Susan Tierney, Valley Metro spokeswoman.

Trains now arrive at stations every 12 minutes — five times an hour — dur­ing weekday peak hours, which the agency changed to 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Trains still run every 20 minutes during off-peak hours, Tierney said.

These changes were made in July 2010.

Head was accurate about the de­crease in the schedule during peak peri­ods.

He also said rates have increased 33 percent.

In 2008, a one-ride pass cost $1.25 and an all-day pass cost $2.50, Tierney said.

A one-ride pass now is $2 and an all-­day pass is $4.

The costs for both a one-ride pass and an all-day pass have gone up 60 percent.

Metro light rail also had multi-day passes when it opened: a three-day ($7.50), seven-day ($17.50) and a 31-day ($45).

The agency no longer provides a three-day pass. The seven-day pass fare increased by 14 percent to $20; and the 31-day pass increased 42 percent to $64.

People with a disability, those who are age 65 and older, Medicare card­holders and youths ages 6 through 18 qualify for reduced fares on local bus and light rail.

BOTTOM LINE: Head was accurate that Metro light rail reduced per-peak-hour trains to five from six. However, the rate increases were not 33 percent, as he cited. Most of the increases were much higher than 33 percent.

— Eugene Scott

Sources: Valley Metro,

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  1. I read it AND clipped it out; especially the part about the rate increases and less service. Good blog and My Turn fodder.

    I hope Ms. Korte and her felow downtowners are reading this stuff.

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