Light-Rail Ridership at Lowest Level Yet; Summer Doldrums Take Major Toll on New System


Light-rail ridership dropped to its lowest level yet in June, averaging less than 30,000 boardings a day. (You can be sure unpaid boardings make up a healthy fraction of that number).

Metro Light Rail and its boosters have plenty of excuses for the dwindling ridership, some of which even make sense. For instance, Arizona State University students made up a significant portion of the onboard crowd during the spring, and now school's out.




But aren't there any factors working for light rail? The economy's in the crapper, and more people are out of work than in the last 25 years. Using light rail and buses costs less than owning a car, but boardings don't increase as household budgets decrease. Go figure.

Graph from Metro:





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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.