Remember December 27th of 2008? It was a cold Arizona day, there were celebrations, political speeches, and God only knows how many people took to the streets to come ride the new Phoenix light rail system for the very first time. Back then, you could purchase an all day light rail pass for $2.50. Well, actually, you didn’t have to pay anything on the first day or even for a week or two after that, as we began our “trial run” to see if anyone would actually ride this “political boondoggle.” Turns out, people do ride this thing. In fact, they ride it a LOT. Like, way more than was originally expected.
While the $2.50 was quite the bargain to ride the train as much as we wanted each day, it wasn’t long until we were paying $3.50 for a pass. At $3.50 for an all day pass, it’s still hard to say that isn’t a pretty good deal. Heck, it looks like Seattle is a little more than Phoenix, but Houston might be a little less? ( wow, Houston’s web site blows ) With gas prices on the rise, most cars still guzzle more than $3.50 to do anything more than a quick trip.
Now it sounds like bus and light rail fares are on the way up, again. In fact, METRO is having fare discussions to get input on the idea that we will be hitting the $4.00 mark to ride the rails in the near future. Sounds like the new ( proposed ) fares will be:
1-Ride – From $1.75 to $2.00
All-day pass – From $3.50 to $4.00
3-day pass – currently $10.50, would be discontinued
7-day pass – From $17.50 to $20.00
15-day pass – $33.00 (Not currently available)
31-day pass – From $55.00 to $64.00
Discounted fares available to people with disabilities, seniors, Medicare cardholders, youths 6-18 years of age.
While light rail ridership numbers continue to impress, their advertising campaigns seem to be successful, and overall transit use seems to be growing, the operating costs must be climbing. I’m looking forward to attending some of the public discussion to hear a little more about what is going on. I hope you will join me.