Metro Phoenix light rail now ready to take on serious commuters

[Source: Nick R. Martin and Mike Branom, East Valley Tribune] — The opening weekend of light rail in the Valley was mostly given over to spectators — the politicians, journalists and locals who were just plain curious.  But today, the first working day for many since the Metro went public, the rail line is expected to be handed over to the serious riders, the ones who will board it to reach their crosstown jobs and destinations.

For people like John Tynan, a Tempe Web developer, it means he and his wife can finally ditch one of their cars.  In fact, the couple’s transportation options were recently crippled when one of their two cars made a catastrophic trip to a repair shop.  Instead of buying a new car, they tried to figure out how they could manage life in the Valley with just one vehicle.  The opening of light rail, Tynan said, provided a solid push toward alternative transportation.  “It got us thinking that we could really become a one-car family.”  For them, it was an easy choice.  One of the Metro stations is less than a mile from their house.  Another in downtown Phoenix is just two blocks away from where Tynan will be starting a new job in mid-January.  “It’s pretty much door to door,” he said.

Metro officials are trying to assure commuters that they can also make light rail a part of their lives, even if they live much farther away from the single, 20-mile line.  On Sunday, Metro spokeswoman Hillary Foose stood on the platform of one of the stations, answering rider questions and frequently pointing them to the online “Trip Planner.”  The feature lets riders type in their starting address and destination, and in return, it gives them detailed directions on how to use buses and/or their own feet to meet up with the rail line.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

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