Metro light rail is extending the hours of operation for Friday and Saturday nights to help those that do not want to worry about missing the last train when dining out, attending a show or just having some fun. “Early” hours have been an issue for many people since light rail began running this past December. While Metro has promised to help people get home from Diamondbacks games and from other major events throughout the year, many are hesitant to take light rail to concerts, Art walks, Mill Avenue, Downtown events, etc. for fear of missing the last train or because they don’t want to have to try timing their evening around an early “curfew.”
“Beginning July, METRO will extend service hours on Friday nights/Saturday mornings and Saturday nights/Sunday mornings until past 2 a.m. The last full trip of the night will occur at 2 a.m., arriving at the opposite end of the line at 3 a.m. METRO will continue to provide 20-minute service in this extended period.”
This “First Friday” (and first weekend) of extended hours promises to be a great test to see high demand on the later hours. While the 4th of July festivities are sure to pack huge crowds, many fun community events are also planned for the weekend. Because of these extended hours people are excited to travel without having to think about their commute before the clock strikes 12. The “Phoenix Friday Night’s” crew is planning on gathering for some early festivities at Gallo Blanco with many of the “tech-geek” (cool tweeps) crowd followed by a trip to the First Friday’s Art Walk. The art walk on the first Friday of the month always draws large crowds, but previously many people left early – that doesn’t have to be the case tonight.
It will be interesting to see how the extended hours are received by the community. It is my opinion that the numbers will be watched very closely. Kind of like a “use it or lose it” trial period. Hopefully, this period will be another economic boost to business owners along the line and will provide riders, workers, and travelers the benefit they have asked for.