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.