Wednesday, February 9, 2011

TRANSIT REPORT: Phoenix, Arizona

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia

Spend a few days in the Phoenix, Arizona area and one thing will be apparent…this place is huge!  What looks like it might be just down the street on a map can end up being twenty miles or more when you drive it.
This kind of sprawl makes public transit quite a challenge…a challenge that the Phoenix area is still trying, with various degrees of success, to meet.
Valley Metro is a conglomeration of various regional and city transit systems all working under one consolidated umbrella.  Mostly buses, a light rail component was added in 2008 running from Tempe/Mesa to north of downtown Phoenix.  It also serves the Sky Harbor Airport.


LIGHT RAIL – There are 27 stations on the route.  An airport shuttle will transport you to the nearby station there.  It mainly travels down the center of streets so it’s more like a street car in some respects.  An extension to the Metrocenter Mall, north of downtown Phoenix is under construction.
Picture courtesy of Flickr

LINK – This is a rapid-bus system that uses long, articulated buses on very limited stop service.  Buses have stoplight override capabilities and the stops themselves have “next bus arriving in” signs letting you know how long until the next bus shows up. 
LINK runs from Gilbert and Mesa in the east and from Chandler in the south to the Sycamore/Main St. Transit Center at the eastern edge of Tempe.  Click here for a route map and brochure of the LINK system.
BUS – Local, express, and limited stop bus services makes up service to the rest of the more than 2,000 square miles of the metropolitan area.  Express routes have route numbers in the 500’s. 
Click here for a route map of the system.
Fares are $1.75 for local buses and light rail.  $2.75 for express bus services.  A day pass is $3.50 if you buy before you get on board, $5.25 if you don’t.  Disabled passengers pay $.85 for local and light rail, $1.75 for a day pass.
All Metro services are accessible for wheelchairs and other disabilities.  For more information, visit

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia

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