Major changes to Valley Metro bus service coming in December

[Source: City of Phoenix] — Bus service in Phoenix will undergo significant alterations on Dec. 29, so passengers should double check their routes and bus schedules before they travel.  The Phoenix Public Transit Department is making a number of changes to Valley Metro bus service within the city to connect passengers with METRO light rail; and, because of funding reductions, has suspended bus service for a number of early morning and late night bus trips during the weekdays, as well as bus frequency levels on Saturdays.  The Phoenix City Council hopes to restore service when the economy improves.

“Every passenger’s situation is different, so our best advice is to plan ahead by checking the bus and rail schedules; for many riders their usual route or schedule may be changing on Dec. 29,” says Public Transit Director Debbie Cotton.  She adds that to help passengers understand the changes, transit staff will be at Phoenix transit centers to answer questions (see schedule below) and information will be available online in early December.

On Dec. 29, some bus routes along or intersecting with the light rail route will be permanently changed to complement light rail service: the Red Line is eliminated (in Tempe and Mesa, as well) with most of the route replaced by light rail; the Blue Line (renamed Rt. 39-40th St.) south of Camelback Road is eliminated; and Route 15-15th Avenue is extended to serve both the Metrocenter Transit Center and Sky Harbor Airport. In addition, adjustments will be made to routes: Route 1-Washington/Jefferson, Route 13-Buckeye, and Route 60-Bethany Home Road.

Weekday bus trips will start within Phoenix after 5 a.m. and before 10 p.m. — the exact start times for trips vary from route to route.  Late night service will be available if the trip begins before 10 p.m., allowing the bus finish its route.  Other changes include:

  • Saturday service – frequency levels on all routes will be similar to that of the Sunday schedule
  • I-17 RAPID – elimination of one afternoon trip
  • SR-51 RAPID – reconfiguration of route to serve CityNorth (56th St. & Deer Valley Road); elimination of two afternoon trips
  • Phoenix Neighborhood Circulators – Saturday service changes for ALEX, DART, Deer Run, MARY, and SMART
  • DASH Downtown Loop – elimination of late night service 6:30 – 8 p.m.

Phoenix buses carry about 161,000 boardings each weekday, or about 70% of all bus riders in the Valley.  Phoenix transit service has several funding sources based on sales taxes that haven been in decline: Transit 2000, a citizen-approved sales tax for transit improvements; the city of Phoenix’s general fund, and a one-half-cent regional sales tax for transportation.

The bus schedule changes will be available in the December 2008 edition of the Valley Metro Transit Book and online.  In addition, public outreach meetings will be held in early December:

  • December 1, 4:30 – 9 a.m. Central Station, Central Ave & Van Buren St
  • December 1, 2:30 – 4:30 p.m., Ed Pastor Transit Center, Central Ave & Broadway Rd
  • December 2, 6:30 – 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 – 4:30 p.m., Sky Harbor International Airport Terminal 3, West Mezzanine
  • December 2, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Phoenix City Hall, 200 W. Washington St
  • December 3, 5 – 7 a.m., Paradise Valley Transit Center, Cactus & Tatum roads
  • December 4, 4:30 – 9 a.m. and 2:30 – 4:30 p.m., Metrocenter Transit Center, Metrocenter Mall
  • December 5, 4:30 – 9 a.m., Sunnyslope Transit Center, Third Ave & Dunlap Rd
  • December 5, 2:30 – 4:30 p.m., Central Station, Central Ave & Van Buren St
  • December 5, 2:30 – 4:30 p.m., Desert Sky Transit Center, 75th Ave & Thomas Rd

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