Since I began writing this blog, I have met a LOT of really cool people. Wayne Turner is one of those guys. Recently, we were talking about taking the light rail to Sky Harbor Airport and about the new Sky Train system that is coming. As a business traveler and downtown resident, Wayne will get a lot of use from light rail to the airport. Here is a brief introduction of my friend, followed by his experience in using the system… Big thanks to Wayne for this blog post!
Wayne Turner moved to downtown Phoenix five years ago after he realized during his first trip to Portland, Oregon two years earlier that he had been in that city for five days and had never got into an actual car. In Portland, he traveled on light rail, streetcar, bus and bicycle and yet saw all the sights the city had to offer. When he got back, he wanted to find a similar place in Phoenix, which turned out to be downtown in the Roosevelt Historic District, where he now resides.
On Portland Street.
As someone who has lived in downtown Phoenix for over five years I had welcomed the addition of the Metro Light Rail to my travel options (also, having lived through ALL the years of light rail construction, I felt like I was entitled :). I have used it extensively for getting to the ballpark, or Tempe, or as a way to get home when I ride my bicycle farther away than I expected. What I had NOT done was use it to get to the airport because I did not have a good idea of how long it would take. Traveling every week or two for business, it would be a good option, but did need to do the research.
I suppose I could have just taken any day and rode to the airport even if I was not flying anywhere but I wanted this to be a real world example with my luggage and everything, I so decided to take the rail to the airport for a recent overnight trip to Las Vegas. My house is about 150 yards from the Roosevelt Station on Central and Roosevelt so my front door was my starting point, with my goal to see how long it took to get to my gate for my flight. Not having any idea how long this would take, I left my house about two hours ahead of my flight and kept track of each leg of the journey. Here was the breakdown, with the "wait times" being how long from when I got to that stop to when I was in the vehicle (rail or shuttle) and it was moving again:
Walk from house to Roosevelt rail station: 6:22
Wait for light rail: 13:06
Rail from Roosevelt station to airport shuttle station: 21:02
Wait for shuttle: 9:56
Shuttle from airport shuttle station to airport: 5:58
Walk from shuttle drop-off to gate: 6:07
This is a total of one hour, two minutes and 31 seconds (1:02:31); judging by the wait times for the rail (13 minutes) and the shuttle (10 minutes) I think I can safely say that this is probably close to the worst case.
All this to know one thing: it takes me an hour to get from my door to my gate riding Metro Light Rail and the cost is less than 10% of parking for ONE DAY at the terminal at the airport.
See you on the rail; I’ll be the guy with a suitcase.