At a recent Mayor’s breakfast meeting, the scheduled times of operation of light rail were announced. The trains, as it was reported at this meeting, will shut down between 12 midnight and 4:45 a.m. except for “special events.”
If downtown Phoenix is ever going to become what its proponents have stressed it should be, a “24/7 vibrant downtown” then not having light rail run 24 hours a day is a detriment to achieving this goal. The reasons are many:
- Closing time for nightlife and entertainment is generally 2 a.m., with many other locations doing “after-hours” past the traditional bar closing times.
- Restaurant and bar workers don’t finish at midnight, and they are the ones who would use late-night public transportation.
- Taking people who stay out late night and use light rail as their “designated driver” would reduce DUI arrests and accidents caused by impaired drivers.
- It is the measure of a city’s vitality and growth when it recognizes that a true “24/7” downtown doesn’t close at 12 midnight.
This doesn’t mean the train needs to run every 20 minutes. If trains could just run a once an hour schedule, riders would at least know there is a way with some patience to avoid driving.
Funding could be partnered with many different entities, including the hospitality and beverage industry and various anti-DUI organizations.
Downtown Voices Coalition, by a unanimous vote of its steering committee, asks the Mayor, City Council, and interested parties to find a solution for running light rail on a 24 hour schedule.
Steve Weiss, Chair, Steering Committee, Downtown Voices Coalition