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 azcentral.com 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, azcentral.com
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