Without a doubt, the first weekend of our extended light rail hours was a huge success. But, that was easy. First Fridays and the fourth of July always expect to see large crowds of people utilizing the system.
As we past our first non holiday weekend without any major events, many people are wondering how the numbers look for the late night light rail riders. If people want or expect to see the trains running late on the weekends, I believe this first 6 months will be very critical because it has been pretty widely reported that this extension is on a one year trial basis. The funding for the year will be nowhere to be found if there isn’t some real numbers riding late at night. Based on other decisions made, I have a feeling they will know pretty soon if the extension will continue.
As the “West’s latest running train,” we have people from around the country watching to see how everything goes. While it is cool for some of our friends to be watching us, it is our own community that needs to be aware of the extended hours and the fact that they can be yanked in a New York minute.
There are a lot of really cool groups of people that have shown an interest in the extended hours and I’ll be talking to some of them this week to see about a late night light rail trip with a whole bunch of our friends. My thought, so far, is to talk with Local First Arizona, the Downtown Phoenix Journal, CenPho TV, the Mill Avenue District, the Kyle Moyer Agency, Downtown Voices Coalition, Radiate Phoenix, local bloggers and others to gather ideas for a bunch of us to meet at a light rail station ( or nearby ) to board a train and visit a local establishment that might not be as packed as they would like. Who knows, maybe we will get a local business owner that normally closes early to stay open for our little “awareness campaign.” ( So far, I’m just looking for ideas here)
Starting the extended hours in the Summer time might end up being problematic in that, the numbers will naturally be lower than in the winter time. If we are judged solely on these times, it is highly likely that we will only have one year before it is back to the midnight curfew that many complained about in the beginning.
So, watch for a fun weekend light rail ride in the near future. I’m thinking it should happen in the next few weekends. I am pretty sure some of my above-mentioned friends will be willing to help spread the word.
**Update! It looks like “Night Rail” is gonna happen July 31st. Some really cool people involved, more details this week. Be prepared to come show your support for the later hours. We will probably use #NightRail for the Twitter tag. #RailLife is ok too. 🙂