[Source: East Valley Tribune] — So much for the notion of light rail’s novelty wearing off. The average passenger count for weekdays in February, the second month of the cross-Valley line’s revenue operations, jumped 15 percent from January and was well over projections for the first year. So much for the notion of light rail’s novelty wearing off. Almost 35,300 people rode trains on the average weekday, Metro announced Thursday. That figure exceeded Metro’s target of 26,000 by more than one-third.
Arizona State University economist Tim James interpreted the high ridership numbers as commuters doing the math and seeing riding a train is a better deal than driving their cars. Light-rail passengers, he said, pay $2.50 for a round-trip ticket and nothing for leaving a vehicle at a park-and-ride lot. Driving to downtown Phoenix plus the hassle of parking there costs more. “It makes financial sense,” James said. “People aren’t stupid.” And James is seeing the free market respond to this new development: He said downtown parking garages are lowering their rates. [Note: to read the full article, click here.]