From last weekend’s New York Times, Phoenix’s new light rail line is grudgingly praised by former opponents, and has very high weekend ridership by people with a new excuse to go downtown.
We’ve seen the latter phenomenon here, where the mid-August ridership numbers showed more boardings on Saturday than the average weekday. More anecdotally, while riding the train and walking along MLK I can say that there are a ton of people on the train on any given weekend afternoon. Sometimes that’s sporting event traffic, sometimes not.
Weekday ridership will catch up, as more people figure out how to commute with the train, weekend light rail tourists go away, and the winter brings fewer events downtown. Nevertheless, I think this is an example of how rail is able to capture riders even when the drive downtown isn’t all that expensive or unpleasant.