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Phoenix Valley Light-Rail Ridership Numbers Stable, High

Ridership for Phoenix Valley's new light-rail system appears to be stabilizing at a level well above expectations.

By By Mike Branom

(Published in the East Valley (Phoenix) Tribune on April 1, 2009.)

Ridership for the Valley's new light-rail system appears to be stabilizing at a level well above expectations, Metro's chief executive officer said April 1, 2009.

Although passenger counts for March were incomplete, Rick Simonetta cautioned, data collected through three and a half weeks show the average number of boardings during weekdays was more than 34,300.

Compared to February, that would be a drop of less than 3 percent - and March included a week during which Arizona State University's facilities in downtown Phoenix were closed for spring break.

"I think we're starting to settle in to a level of ridership that seems to indicate where initial demand exists," Simonetta told Metro's Rail Management Committee.

Through almost the first three months of revenue operations, Simonetta added, Metro's ridership is about 35 percent ahead of the official forecast for weekdays of 26,000.

Average ridership on Saturdays in March dropped 13 percent from the month before, to 27,300. But boardings on Sundays/holidays averaged almost 19,900, a rise of 4 percent.