A friend recently sent an email out to a number of us with the arrival and departure times of her upcoming vacation flight, looking for a ride to and from the airport. From where we live it’s a 20-minute drive and with her weekday arrival and departure at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., I would normally leave at 8 a.m. to get there by 8:30 a.m. and with some rush hour traffic around 3 p.m., would expect to be home before 4 p.m.
Out of curiosity I looked up what her connections and times would look like to use the services that would connect her to the airport.
To get to the Milwaukee airport by 8:30 a.m, she would make a short walk to our downtown transit center to catch a 7:05 a.m. local transit bus to Goerke’s Corners, our area park-and-ride. There, the charter would pick her up at 7:45 a.m. to get here there by 8:25 a.m.
To get home, her flight lands at 3 p.m. and the first ride out after that is 5:30 p.m. to get her to Goerke’s Corners by 6:15 p.m. The local transit bus would pick her up at 6:17 p.m. to get her to the downtown transit center by a mere three hours, 42 minutes later, at 6:42 p.m.
An extra three hours to get home is not something most people would opt for.
For this issue’s cover story, Valley Metro, the ride from the agency to the airport took probably 20 minutes. Including walking time. That’s walking a couple blocks to the station, catching the train, riding about 5 stations down the line, walking over to the Sky Train, riding to airport terminal 4 and taking the shuttle bus over to terminal 3.
While sitting in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, you periodically hear a recording of Mayor Greg Stanton welcoming you to “America’s friendliest airport.” An airport connection where you don’t have to think, don’t have to look up multiple timetables on various organization’s websites to try and coordinate does make things seem friendly.
Sky Train opened earlier this year and Valley Metro’s rail line opened nearly five years ago. There’s a lot more going on at Valley Metro outside of its light rail that you will read about, but when you have a trip that has such an easy airport connection, it makes you wonder how all airports and cities aren’t getting on board to make quicker, easier access.