Fellow Cheddarspherian and all around good guy Dan Cody tipped us off to the fact that light rail ridership in the patently not-liberal city of Phoenix, Arizona have shattered all expectations and ridership projections. He is referring to an MSNBC article that reports this good news.
According to the article, “908,052 people rode trains in February; the total number of boardings for the first two months of 2009 was 1.82 million.” That means roughly 912,000 people rode in January, which is slightly more than the number of February riders, but that can be expected, given the holiday travel that took place in January and the simply shorter calendar month of February.
As Dan points out, many anti-rail conservatives said the Phoenix light rail system would be a huge waste of money and that no one would ride it. They predict much the same for the future Milwauke system, yet they appear to have been summarily proven wrong in the case of the Phoenix system. The success of the Phoenix rail system may be even more surprising, given that Phoenix has no great Socialist roots, as does Milwaukee.
But people in Phoenix, like people in Milwaukee, will quickly latch on to any system that demonstrably works better and gives them a better way to do what they need to. People are taking the light rail system into downtown Phoenix, leaving their cars behind at park and rides, which cost less than parking downtown. Sure enough, downtown parking garages are reportedly lowering their rates to better compete with the rail system. Thus the much revered “invisible hand” of capitalism is working its magic. Just what free marketeers want.