East valley park and ride lots continue to handle to bulk of the parking demand for light rail riders. It is estimated that 12% of ridership is coming from the Sycamore and Main street station and that many overall trips are considered "high turnover" trips. High turnover in that, you might be hard pressed to find a spot at the McClintock and Apache park and ride lot at 8:30 am only to return a few hours later to find plenty of space. This info was given to me during a conversation with a Metro employee this past week, more "official" numbers should be out soon.
As the ridership grows over time, it will be interesting to see how hard it becomes to find a space in the lots. Currently, it doesn't appear to be much of an issue as the lots were designed to year 2030 ridership projections which means there should be plenty of available parking at most times with this new system. As an example, Metro's Howard Steere mentioned this past week that the 19th Avenue and Montebello lot is averaging approximately 200 people parking with capacity at approximately 800. These numbers are slightly ahead of the projected use for this time in the systems life which might indicate that the valley is embracing light rail more than originally thought. I believe "official" ridership numbers will be released on a monthly basis.
One of the parking lots that appears to have high demand is the lot at Dorsey and Apache. Part of the demand must be from ASU students because of it's proximity to campus. Some confusion arises from the fact that this lot is listed at 190 spaces but most people don't realize it is actually split into two separate lots. The first is right on Apache, the second is about a block north on Dorsey, before you get to Lemon and is out of view from the main station because of buildings that are in the area. Metro apparently has plans to add additional signage to help notify people of this "second" lot in the area. Our light rail map might be helpful in getting a better idea of the location. Just zoom in on the area to take a look at the approximate locations.
With the popularity of the system and ridership numbers strong, there is still concern over fare enforcement. I mentioned the fare collection and "card tapping" issues recently and have since found the following video that was made for ASU students to become more familiar with the fact that a pass must be tapped prior to each boarding. Each ASU student gets a "free" U-Pass card by simply taking a valid Sun Card to any ASU campus permit sales office. University employees can purchase the U-Pass at a discounted rate of $260 annually for a local transit pass and $390 annually for an express pass. The pass is good from July 1, 2008 – June 30, 2009 but must also be tapped before boarding the bus or light rail. With the addition of new hand held devices to check passes, fines may become prevalent if cardholders don't start doing a better job of correctly using them. I believe fines can range from $50 – $500.00. (ouch!)