Well, I did it again. That’s right, I rode the METRO choo choo train yesterday to get to a doctor’s appointment in the middle of the Med Center. And I have the ticket to prove it!
Everything worked out well except the parking. This time I came from Hwy 288, exiting at W. Bellfort St. and traveling west. I turned into the first entrance past Knight St around 2:30 pm and had to turn around because it was roped off. Literally roped off with an old rope, no signs, cones, etc. Oh well. I backed out and went to the main entrance and was shocked to see that parking was going to be $10. Cash. I asked the “attendant” (homeless dude equipped with orange vest?) what the deal was and he told me it was rodeo time. Great.
So I enter and find a parking spot, number 638 – there were more cars than the last time I rode the choo choo. Curiously, half the parking lot was roped off.
Why would METRO raise the price by $7 and then cut the capacity in half?
Interesting strategy. In the short time I was in the line entering the lot, two cars drove away because of the high price. That caused me to ask myself if maybe METRO was losing an opportunity here. After I rode the choo choo for the first time, I determined that it was a good deal for me. Parking was reasonable, the trains were clean and on time. Which is precisely the reason I was back for the second time. What if all these people attending the rodeo had the same positive experience? Might they too be inclined to ride it again? As Tom Bazan noted, METRO ridership continues to decline – why not use these events to boost ridership instead of trying to get a little more revenue? And the revenue increases aren’t all that great anyway – standard revenue is $3 a car and no extra personnel cost, plus the revenue is protected via an ATM like machine. The “event” rate of $10 sounds like a lot of extra revenue until you see a dozen homeless looking dudes with orange vests on walking around with wads of cash. I dunno, but I’d guess that some of that cash didn’t make it home, if you know what I mean.
And one more thing. I thought it was a “Park and Ride” facility. After looking at this picture, I learn that it is a “Parking ride”. Is that like a roller coaster that stands still?
simple simono says
Dave? Vat! are you crazy? I would go ahead and park in the Med Center if got to the South end extreme of the train line….especially during Rodeo Days.
I usually park at the Maxey Road Park and Ride ( cost = $0.00) and ride the Downtown Express into town and get off at the UofH Downtown Train Station. I ride the train down to where I need to do business, which is usually limited to the Medical Center or Jury Duty at the Courthouse.
The savings in money for now is not that much if you are planning a whole day trek to the Med Center and who doesn’t.
You just do not know how to have fun!
David Jennings says
Hey now! I’m trying to have fun, that’s why I was ridin’ the rail!
Simple Simon says
I know a lot of folks do not like the train and to be sure it is far from perfect, but it isn’t exactly a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.
I like the fairly regular schedule that it traverses North-South from UofH Downtown to the Med Center. Try using it from one of the suburban “Park and Rides” via a Downtown Express.
Waiting for an Express Bus to return to the “Park and Ride” is a pain in the summer months, but the eye candy at the UofH Downtown Bus Stop makes worth the wait.
David Jennings says
Simple, I know what you mean. I’d been wanting to ride the choo choo for a while and finally decided to. And it was a good experience – notwithstanding the idiot METRO employee that tried to run me over.
If we set aside the subsidies and the outrageous expense for the laying of tracks, METRO’s seemingly ignorance of good business practices, etc., it is not a bad deal for someone like me that lives in the ‘burbs and drives a huge truck. You park in the lot for 3 bucks on most days, ride the rails into the heart of the Med Center and back for $5.50. Cheaper than parking there and more convenient for me.
When I take Pop, it is a different story because we are talking about more walking than they are capable of.