One of the rarely-mentioned benefits of developing a mass transit system is its ability to reduce drunk driving. Placing transit lines near the places where young adults live and drink can have this added benefit. Not only does access to transit give piece of mind to drinkers who worry that they may have one too many, but it also gives comfort to sober drivers who are often the victims of drunk drivers. The NHTSA’s warning that “buzzed driving is drunk driving” is a strong reminder that the easiest way to avoid drunk driving is to simply not drive.
Phoenix’s new METRO Light Rail line conveniently runs through a major university campus and a major arts and entertainment district in downtown Phoenix. Naturally, it wasn’t long after it opened before someone developed a site called Light Rail Beer, highlighting bars that are easily accessible from the transit line. It’s a great marketing device for the bars, and it encourages residents in The Valley to be responsible drinkers.
Of course, a major drawback of the Phoenix line right now is its closing time: the last train runs through downtown before midnight, yet bars there close at 2am. Adding limited late-night service on weekends might be in the best interest of Valley Metro – not just for convenience, but also for public safety.