Suns offering fans a free ride

Phoenix has always sucked when it comes to public transportation.

When you go to cities like Washington D.C. and New York, you almost don’t need to rent a car their public transportation is so good. In fact, I can’t see any reason why anybody would ever rent a car in DC.

But Phoenix is ahead of the curve in one area of public transit after US Airways Center and the METRO light rail announced an agreement on Thursday in which anybody with a ticket to a USAC event gets free light rail fare four hours prior to the event through the end of the day.

The light rail still isn’t so great if you live anywhere except for Tempe, Mesa or downtown Phoenix. When I want to ride the light rail downtown (which I sometimes do to avoid the hassles of parking and to pass out ValleyoftheSuns business cards to unsuspecting passengers), I drive all the way to Tempe, wait 15 minutes for the train and end up traveling for well over an hour when the trip from my house would have been just about 40 minutes.

The next step to make Phoenix a truly public transit-friendly city would involve expanding the light rail to all the areas that people actually are, but we must be happy about what we can be happy about for now.

Although it’s not unprecedented for a team to offer free public transportation to a game, this program, which will run from the beginning of October for a year, is the first of its kind in America between an arena and a public transportation entity.

“Suns fans who used light rail to travel to games last year told us that being able to avoid traffic and parking issues, as well as the ease and convenience of the trip, resulted in an experience that enhanced their enjoyment of attending a game,” Suns CEO Rick Welts said in a release. “We appreciate the willingness and creativity the leadership at METRO light rail demonstrated in developing this program for all US Airways Center events.”

This partnership does knock a couple more reasons off your list of why you shouldn’t go to a Suns game. Now you don’t have to worry about paying for parking (it’s free to park in a light rail Park and Ride lot) and you don’t have to worry about driving, unless you live out in Scottsdale or something like that.

It’s nice to see public transportation in this city actually start to make a dent. Now if only they’d do something about those concession prices.

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