[Source: Arizona Republic] — Providing fast, efficient bus service for commuters in the southeast Valley’s far-flung communities is proving to be one of the most promising ways to ease gridlock. But it’s not without pitfalls, as Queen Creek learned last year when its rapid bus route to Tempe was dropped after attracting only a handful of riders. This week, the city of Maricopa southwest of Chandler — it’s in Pinal County — is taking a calculated risk by launching a rapid bus route for commuters to and from downtown Phoenix, and transit officials are eager to see how many riders climb on board – and stay on board.
Fortunately, we have enough experience now from the few true rapid bus routes in our region to be able to predict which prospective routes have the best chances for success. And we’re betting the new Maricopa service will do well, and perhaps so well that it will need to be expanded. Queen Creek and other outlying areas surely are taking notice.
The new Maricopa service is really an extension of the wildly successful rapid bus service between Ahwatukee and downtown Phoenix. Transit officials had noticed many of the cars that were jamming the Ahwatukee park-and-ride lot were from Maricopa. It’s a no-brainer that those commuters would rather board a bus in their own community if they have the option. [Note: To read the full editorial, click here.]