Transit-venue partnership builds light rail into downtown events:
PHOENIX — METRO light rail, US Airways Center and the Phoenix Suns have developed a unique partnership to build transit into downtown Phoenix events. The “Rail Ride Event” program allows consumers who purchase a ticket to an event at US Airways Center to ride METRO light rail at no additional cost on the day of the event.
Under this one-year pilot program, METRO will recognize US Airways Center event tickets as valid light rail fare starting four hours before the event through the end of the transit day. The program begins October 1, 2009 and runs through September 30, 2010. It is expected to generate up to $340,000 in revenue for METRO.
USAirwaysCenter hosts nearly 200 events each year, including the Phoenix Suns and Mercury basketball games, concerts and family shows. All ticketed US Airways Center events are included in the Rail Ride Event program.
“This program will encourage use of the METRO system as a great way to get to and from events at US Airways Center,” said METRO Board Chairman and city of Phoenix Vice Mayor Tom Simplot. “The new riders will soon discover how convenient, efficient and safe the system is.”
“Suns fans who used light rail to travel to games last year told us that being able to avoid traffic and parking issues, as well as the ease and convenience of the trip, resulted in an experience that enhanced their enjoyment of attending a game,” said Phoenix Suns President and CEO Rick Welts. “We appreciate the willingness and creativity the leadership at METRO light rail demonstrated in developing this program for all US Airways Center events.”
METRO CEO Rick Simonetta called it a “perfect fit.”
“Special event and recreation-oriented trips are already a significant portion of our ridership, nearly 40 percent,” said Simonetta. “Teaming up with the Suns and a great venue like US Airways Center just takes it to the next level.”
METRO is a non-profit, public corporation responsible for the operation of the 20-mile light rail system in metro Phoenix, and for design, construction and future operation of 37 miles of possible extensions. Since opening in December 2008, METRO has posted ridership figures 30 percent above projections. www.metrolightrail.org
About US Airways Center:
US AirwaysCenter is owned by the city of Phoenix and managed by a subsidiary of Suns Legacy Partners, owners of the Phoenix Suns (NBA) and Phoenix Mercury (WNBA). The 19,000-seat, award-winning venue hosts nearly 200 events a year including concerts, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Disney on Ice shows, other family shows, sporting events, and conventions. More than two million guests attend events at the Center annually. www.usairwayscenter.com
“Gorilla” photo courtesy of and used with permission from Metro Light Rail