With light rail fares rising in July along with the Arizona temperatures, it seems we will still see some crowded trains. The recent “single car trains” that Metro has been running have caused quite a stir. Several questions have been raised as to the reason behind them. With one driver for a single, double and triple train, does the savings come from:
The cleaning of the cars?
Wear and tear?
Metro spokeswoman Hillary Foose was recently quoted in the paper by Sean Holstege as saying “to be fiscally responsible we decided we could throw one car trains out there and still offer the same level of service.”
Sean also mentions that “On average one in three trains will be one-car, and Sunday trains will run every 20 minutes.”
It is my understanding that the vote for the possible change in Sunday frequency will be later this month.
According to an article by Mike Branom in the Tribune titled “ Metro considers smaller light-rail trains, the above mentioned changes “plus unspecified cuts in administrative costs, will result in an annual savings of $885,000. Making up the rest of the deficit is the expectation that fare revenue will rise in the coming year.”
According to a Metro spokeswoman I spoke to via email yesterday, “More single trains are being deployed to accommodate current ridership. METRO’s service plan has always taken into account demand and trains are deployed accordingly. A ridership decrease has been observed and was expected during the summer season; the service plan has adjusted. This is also an effort to be fiscally responsible; running fewer trains has a positive impact on the budget. Fewer trains create less utility usage and decrease maintenance costs.”
While budgets all over are very tight, for now, the extending of hours on Friday and Saturday night appears to be safe but I have a feeling it will be watched very closely. The weekend crowds have been strong with Sunday ridership numbers being 92.9% higher than original projections and Saturday ridership 49.1% over expectations. Let’s see how the heat effects those numbers. Heck, if the Diamondback’s can start kicking some butt, the weekend ridership should continue to do pretty well. Don't worry, for Sunday games, I bet they run doube and triple cars.
Keep cool because, "Your Life Is On The Line!"