In support of Sunset Limited restructuring November 12th, 2009
(Sent November 2009)
The Honorable Thomas C. Carper
Chairman, Board of Directors
National Railroad Passenger Corporation
60 Massachusetts Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002
Re: Restructuring of Sunset Limited service
Since our inception in 1984, the Arizona Rail Passenger Association has recognized the need for daily Sunset Limited operation and has worked to educate Arizona government and business leaders and other regional stakeholders on the importance of improved intercity passenger rail service. We understand that the restructuring of the Sunset may be on the agenda for this monthâ€™s Amtrak Board meeting and we urge the implementation of daily operation as soon as is practicable.
This past year, there has been some discussionâ€”both within Amtrak and among passenger rail advocatesâ€”of restructuring the Sunset Limited by combining it with the Texas Eagle and operating a through Chicago-Los Angeles train via Texas and Southern Arizona. We support this concept. Historically, leisure travel between Arizona and the Midwest has far out-paced that between Arizona and the Southeast, and current highway and airline data suggest that this trend continues.
Of course, we would also like to see the train re-routed back through Phoenix. Phoenix-Los Angeles is the 15th most heavily traveled airline corridor in North America. Moreover, returning the Sunset to Phoenix would set the stage for future Phoenix-Tucson regional rail serviceâ€”fulfilling another vital unmet need.
We are eager to provide you with any additional input you may need as you plan the restructuring of the Sunset Limited and appreciate your consideration.
Robert H. Bohannan, AICP, President
METRO adds permanent weekend Owl service May 27th, 2009
PHOENIX: “Metro will start late night service on weekends in July… [using] some of the savings that cities accrued when the feds paid back early… [this is about double the cost of] Owl trains… about $256,000 a year… Metro wonâ€™t run a one-year experiment. [Huzzah!] Late trains will be part of service from now on. That means the last train will cruise through downtown Phoenix and downtown Tempe just after 2 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday…”
Also: “planners told the board that the economic slump will force Metro to delay by one-to-two years the upcoming extensions and that plans to extend light rail toward Paradise Valley Mall may have to wait until voters adopt a new sales tax. The problem is the last transportation tax, Prop. 400, is bringing in billions of dollars less than expected. No decision was reached. A vote is scheduled for June 17…”
Rest of the story: http://www.azcentral.com/members/Blog/lightrailblog/53722
On Closing METRO for a footrace January 20th, 2009
A Resolution of the ARPA Board of Directors, approved 2009-1-17.
On behalf of the Members of the Association the the Citizens of Arizona, ARPA opposes and finds it unacceptable to interrupt regularly scheduled rail service for marathons, parades, or similar events which transit should serve.
These events must be routed to permit regular rail operation.
(On 18 January, METRO rail service was truncated north of the McDowell station for a marathon until at least 10am — inconvenicing passengers and disabling anyone from using METRO to travel to the event.)
Metro keeps light-rail schedule simple March 25th, 2008
In the Arizona Republic, 24 March 2008:
To get people to ride the upcoming light-rail system, Metro is attempting to keep the schedule easy, frequent and on time.
Metro has announced the light-rail trains will run every 10 minutes from sunrise to sunset on weekdays, every 20 minutes other times during the week, every 15 minutes on weekends and will operate roughly 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. every day…