Light-Rail Ridership in April Surpassed One Million, Metro Estimates; Contest for Riders Launched

Following a brief decline in ridership, people boarded the Valley's light-rail trains more than a million times in April.

Metro Light Rail doesn't know precisely how many folks get on its trains, but estimates that last month saw 1,044, 135 boardings. That works out to a daily ridership of 34,805 -- much better than in March, (though still no need for professional people-packers).

What we wonder is how many people get on the trains without paying, since we notice bums riding frequently to get out of the heat. And since we've ridden a dozen times and have only been asked for our ticket once.

As a reward to riders and to help market itself, Metro launched a "One-in-One--Million" contest. Light-rail enthusiasts can write a essay detailing a "positive experience" on the tracks, some of which will be featured in June on Metro's Web site.

You have to be a real light-rail nerd to love the grand prize: "One lucky passenger will be rewarded with a behind-the-scenes look at METRO." More interesting than a tour of a bus yard, perhaps, but the system's Operation and Maintenance Center isn't exactly Universal Studios. The winner also gets a bag of schwag, featuring a month of day passes and bitchin' light-rail apparel.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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.