PHOENIX -- Sky Harbor Airport celebrated the one-year anniversary Monday of Sky Train, which connects the Valley Metro Light Rail station at 44th and Washington streets to the airport's Terminal 4. Sky Train also makes a stop at the East Economy parking lot,
According to Deputy Aviation Director Steve Grubbs, the automated train averaged about 10k passengers daily, for a total of approximately 3.5 million passengers in the year. Grubbs said that's 20 to 30 percent more than originally projected.
"Just the view coming in and being able to see the airplanes," says Sky Train passenger Cynthia Jingles. "It's kind of like you get that last minute, like, Ah! I've arrived in Phoenix."
"It's so convenient, so easy, and I'm here every month," says traveler Karen Echills. "You just hop on, go right down toward your plane and it's just easy breezy."
Monday also marked the beginning of testing of the next section of Sky Train, which will connect Terminal 3 with Terminal 4.
The City of Phoenix shared some behind-the-scenes photos with us today of the work in progress.
"That will be up and operating to the public in time for next year's Super Bowl in the Valley." Grubbs said. "And we anticipate an increase in ridership of up to 20 percent than the first stage."
Part of that project includes a walkway between Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 that should also be open open in time for Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale.
Passengers say they're looking forward to the changes. "This airport used to be a disaster so it has really picked it up," says one passenger.
"It's a lot more convenient than taking the bus thing over," says another.
There's no exact timetable for the ultimate completion of Sky Train to the rental-car center, but Grubbs estimates that it could be finished in the early 2020s.
Upon completion, passengers will no longer have to take buses to the airport terminals.