Waiting at the light at 19th Ave and Camelback in Phoenix on Wednesday evening, I watched a northbound 3-car train go past with 18 passengers. I then watched a southbound 3-car train go by with exactly 4 passengers.
Then I read the lede to today’s Arizona Republic story: Just as ridership is growing to record levels on the Valley’s public transit, authorities are edging closer to enacting big fare hikes.
Let me get this straight. Ridership is at record levels, and there were 4 people on a train at 6:45 p.m. on a weeknight? It only took one person to gain 50% in ridership? I guess that makes it pretty easy to attain “record levels.” And now we’re worried that we’re going to reduce ridership because fares will go up?
Less than 30 days ago, light rail officials were reporting that they were “on track to meet or beat its ridership projections for the year.” This was after exactly one week of operating with paying riders.
It’s not like there weren’t a lot of people telling us this wasn’t going to work. We’ll just have to continue to pay for it for years and years to come.
Maybe I was wrong about light rail in the Valley. Maybe it was a good idea. I mean, it’s a nearly daily floodgate of material for blogging!
The latest is the tiff between Sheriff Joe and his plan to transport prisoners on the light rail, and the City of Phoenix in a panic to prevent that from happening.
There is some rich irony in this story. Here is the quote from a Metro official: “I can’t speak for the sheriff or his office, but public transportation is not a controlled environment, and it is not intended for this kind of use.”
So according to metro, guards transporting prisoners is not an intended use. But people claiming to be artists can take off their pants and we are supposed to celebrate the “public space” that is now available?
The joke that is light rail will be the gift that keeps on giving.
No, I’m not talking about my blog… but it could work.
The Sunday edition of the Arizona Republic devoted a front page, top of the fold, huge headline story to the inaugural run of “light rail” in the Valley of the Sun. An estimated 90,000 people showed up for the free ride. The article was typical “isn’t this great!” hype, but there were a few nuggets that made me crack a smile.
“I was trying to beat the crowd, of course there’s no crowd,” was a comment by a guy who showed up at 6:00 a.m. to stand alone for nearly three hours waiting for his free ride.
Or this lady, “We’re just riding to Tempe, Mill Avenue, for lunch and riding back. And then we can say we did it.” That doesn’t sound like somone planning to do it again.
Of the 90,000 people that officials say rode the rail on opening day, it will interesting to watch what the average ridership is when the novelty wears off and it starts costing money to get on the train.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11)
I do a lot of thinking. Probably because I have a fair amount of time alone – mostly in my car, driving to various meetings or appointments. I might have the radio on, but I’m always thinking about something.
So, I’ll continue to do some thinking, but I’ll open some of my thinking to the world… Noble Thinking… it kinda has a ring to it…