Phoenix light rail riders will face more fare inspections and will have opportunities to participate in an Origin and Destination Survey in October and November, respectively. Two news releases were put out recently by METRO and by Valley Metro RPTA as follows. First, we heard that increased fare inspections began to increase on Monday of this week.
Increased fare inspection on light rail
Beginning Monday, Oct. 18
Validated fare is required to board light rail. Pay for your ride by buying and/or validating your fare media at METRO station fare vending machines prior to boarding. Fare inspection will be increased this and next month in an effort to enhance the visibility of officers and emphasize the importance of paying for your ride.
Surges occur routinely as part of METRO’s ongoing effort to keep safety and security high on the light rail system.
Passengers might also see the fare inspectors use a new pass reader. All pass types will be swiped and/or read by this machine to ensure their validity and log the different pass types being used by riders.
To view the different pass types and how to validate them, visit the fare media guide. Validation varies and can occur once a month or several times in one day depending on your fare media.
Next, we learned more details about the upcoming surveys of transit riders and the goodies they can win by participating in said survey.
Phoenix, AZ (Oct. 18, 2010) Starting the first week of November passengers will be asked to provide basic travel information while on board the bus, light rail, or at transit stops. Valley Metro conducts the Origin and Destination Survey in an effort to help guide the regional agency in the planning of routes and service levels. A similar survey was conducted in 2007 just prior to the start-up of light rail service. Findings from the 2007 survey include:
- About half of all transit riders do not own a vehicle.
- Almost three in four riders belong to households earning less than $35,000
- Two out of every three riders are employed
- Riders are primarily 25 to 54 years of age; young riders that range from 18-24 form the second largest group
- More than three-fourths of the riders walk to meet the bus
- Almost one-third of riders report they could not make the trip in the absence of transit service.
"The 2010 transit survey findings should provide us with interesting data since it will incorporate a new service and completely new riders with the inception of METRO light rail service in 2008," said David Boggs, executive director for Valley Metro RPTA. There will be 10,000 bus rider and 4,000 METRO light rail rider surveys gathered.
Authorized surveyors can be verified by their light blue vest and an identification badge with a Valley Metro logo. Riders will be asked questions about how they got to the bus or light rail, the location they boarded, where they are going, and how they typically get transit information. All questions, which range from the current trip they are on to age and household income, will assist in planning future transit services and the survey is required to receive federal funding.
Surveying of passengers, in both English and Spanish, will occur on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and should be completed by
January 31, 2011. Riders turning in an accurate, completed survey will be automatically entered into a drawing for prizes, free monthly transit passes and gift certificates.
The results of the survey should be interesting. If you look at the large numbers of recreational riders using our METRO system to get to the arenas, restaurants, cultural events and more, one would bet that the average income of less that $35k per year found in the 2007 study might be revised upwards for light rail riders.
The increase in light rail fare inspections makes sense, as some people still believe there are large numbers of people that don’t pay for their ride. For those of you watching the light rail platforms for people walking on to a train without buying a ticket, remember that the person could have purchased an all day pass at a different station. While it is important for U-Pass and Platinum Pass holders to tap their card at each station, many of us purchase an all day pass which is validated upon first use. The first press release also mentions METRO’s safety efforts and the fancy new pass reader that will be in use frequently.
So, expect a lot of activity and some new faces as you make your trips around town. Who knows, maybe you will win a few of the prizes that they will be giving away…