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Phoenix Marathon will Detour Downtown Bus & Light Rail on Sunday

[Source: Valley Metro]

Service disruption, but connection between race start and finish remains


Bus routes and light rail service in Phoenix will be affected when the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon rolls into town on Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011.  Several bus routes will be detoured to allow for the event.

Both full and half marathons will start at the Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, near Washington Street and 14th Avenue in Phoenix and will finish on Packard Drive between ASU’s Sun Devil and Sun Angel Stadiums in Tempe. All roadways surrounding the Arizona State Capitol area will be closed to traffic beginning at 4 a.m.

Over 30,000 runners are expected to run the race through the streets of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe. The race routes will be lined with live bands, volunteers, and spectators.

The event significantly impacts the area east of 7th Avenue and south of Camelback Road. Bus riders are strongly advised to call customer service at 602-253-5000 for any route detour updates or check schedules online. Also, it is highly recommended that bus and rail passengers give themselves extra time to reach their destinations. Bus service in Phoenix will be disrupted starting with race preparations at 4 a.m. and continuing during the race until approximately 1 p.m.

List of Phoenix bus routes severely affected by the detours:

  • Route 17-McDowell Rd.
  • Route 29-Thomas Rd.
  • Route 41-Indian School Rd.
  • Route 44-44th Street/Tatum will terminate at Shea Blvd until 44th Street is reopened.
  • Route 50-Camelback

List of other Phoenix bus routes affected by the detours:

  • Route 0-Central Ave.
  • Route 1-Washington/Jefferson
  • Route 3-Van Buren St.
  • Route 7-7th Street
  • Route 8-7th Avenue
  • Route 10-Roosevelt/Grant
  • Route 12-12th Street
  • Route 13-Buckeye
  • Route 15-15th Avenue
  • Route 16-16th Street
  • Route 19-19th Avenue
  • Route 39-40th Street
  • Route 60-Bethany Home
  • Route 70-Glendale/24th Street

Light Rail

METRO light rail will not provide morning service to stations north of McDowell Rd. The following stations will be without service until approximately 10 a.m., or until the race has cleared:

  • Encanto/Central Avenue
  • Thomas/Central Avenue
  • Osborn/ Central Avenue
  • Indian School/Central Avenue
  • Campbell/Central Avenue
  • Central Avenue/Camelback
  • 7th Avenue/ Camelback Road
  • 19th Avenue/Camelback Road
  • Montebello/19th Avenue

METRO will provide service to the rest of the line – McDowell/Central Avenue through Sycamore/Main Street – beginning at 5 a.m. METRO will offer 15 minute service before and during the race when traditional Sunday frequency is every 20 minutes.  Additional trains will be deployed based on the demand at the race finish area in Tempe.  The entire line will re-open once police have indicated the marathon has cleared and it is safe to proceed, approximately 10 a.m.

More Information

For more detailed information about the marathon detours, please visit or call customer service at 602-253-5000, or follow @phoenixmetrobus and/or @MetroRail on Twitter.

Bus strike possible Monday in Phoenix

[Source: Associated Press, via KTAR]

The Phoenix public transit department is urging bus riders to make alternate plan in case a transit worker strike is called on Monday.

City contractor Veolia Transportation Services is negotiating with its labor unions but a deadline extension for two of the three unions expires at midnight on Sunday.

If a strike is called, Veolia is obligated to provide service at 60 percent of the normal level on the 33 bus routes it operates. But it is possible all service using Veolia drivers could be shut down for some time.

Veolia also provides some service for Glendale, Peoria, Scottsdale, and Sun City. Those routes would also be affected if a strike is called.

The city is posting bus strike updates on its website,

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UPDATE: METRO bus strike averted; union contract extended to August 15

The Phoenix New Times is reporting that Phoenix bus riders have been spared a possible bus strike come Monday…

The Teamsters Local Union No. 104, which represents the employees who fuel and clean the buses, extended its contract until August 15.

The other two unions that represent Veolia Transportation employees had already agreed to extend talks. The bus mechanics union (International Union of Operating Engineers Local 428) agreed yesterday to extend its contract to August 15, and the bus operators union, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433, has extended its contract until Sept. 30.

“It’s a good sign that they’re still talking,” said Debra Stark, executive assistant to the City Manager, who oversees the city’s Public Transit Department.

ALERT! Potential transit strike could affect downtown Phoenix

[from the City of Phoenix website]

Veolia Transportation Services Transit Labor Union Strike

The City of Phoenix Public Transit Department provides local bus, RAPID, Express, Neighborhood Circulator, and Dial-A-Ride service to the public.  Each of these services is provided by the city through contracts with private companies, which are responsible for hiring employees, scheduling and staffing routes, and negotiating employee benefits and compensation as part of their agreements.

Currently one of the city’s contractors for local bus and circulator service, Veolia Transportation Services, is in negotiations with three unions representing its employees.  Contracts with each union ended in June, and negotiations are ongoing.  It is possible that if negotiations should reach an impasse, transit service in Phoenix could be disrupted as early as July 25.

In light of that possibility, Phoenix Public Transit is recommending passengers begin researching alternate transportation plans to get to work, or other regular destinations of travel.  Below are additional resources about possible service interruptions, and alternate methods of transportation.

Negotiations Update:
No update at this time.

Press Release on Possible Transit Strike
This press release provides information the possible strike, as well as travel alternatives for passengers.

Background Information
Background information about Phoenix Public Transit services and contractors.

Phoenix Public Transit and Its Contractors
An organizational chart that shows the relationship between The CIty of Phoenix and its transit contractors.

Media Contacts
News outlets with questions about ongoing labor negotiations or affected transit service can call these contacts.

Passenger Information

Use the Trip Planner on for bus and METRO schedules.

Go to to check the schedules of non-affected bus routes and for the METRO schedule – passengers may be able to use an alternative route.  Also check a map of unaffected bus routes below.

You can also call Valley Metro Customer Service at 602-253-5000, TTY 602-261-8208.

Carpools or vanpools

Register at Share the Ride for a carpool or vanpool match list or call (602) 262-RIDE (7433).  If you want to meet your carpool partners at a neutral site, check out the list of Phoenix owned and operated sites.

Taxis, limos, and shuttles Sky Harbor, operated by the Phoenix Aviation Department, has a list of transportation companies on their website.

Route Information:

Veolia Route List

Veolia Route Map

Veolia Service (by City)

Non-Veolia Route List

Non-Veolia Route Map

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Valley Metro raises bus & light rail fares by 50 cents to $1

[Source: Chris Kline, ABC15] — Valley Metro officials have approved a rate hike for bus and train tickets in the Phoenix area.  The hike was approved during a board of directors meeting on Thursday.  The price of a one-way bus/train ticket will go up 50 cents on July 1, from $1.25 to $1.75.  An all-day pass, used by the majority of light-rail riders, will cost $3.50, up from $2.50.

Not since 1994 has Valley Metro increased fares.  A Valley Metro news release states fares are still lower than cities with similar-sized transit agencies.  For example, a 1-Day pass costs $4.75 in Portland, $5.00 in Los Angeles and $5.50 in Salt Lake City.  “Twenty-five percent of our operating costs need to come from the fare box; right now we’re not recovering that,” said Valley Metro’s Susan Tierney during an interview last month. 

Valley Metro ridership figures show on an average weekday, the bus system has 220,000 passenger Metro light rail has nearly 35,300.  Here is the full list of new fares:

One-ride Fare

  • Local bus and light rail: $1.75
  • Express/RAPID: $2.75
  • Reduced: $.85

1-day Pass

  • Local bus (purchased on board): $5.25
  • Local bus and light rail (off board or purchased at a vending machine or transit center): $3.50
  • Express/RAPID (purchased on board): $7.25
  • Express/RAPID (purchased off board): $5.50
  • Reduced (purchased on board): $2.60
  • Reduced (purchase off board): $1.75

31-day Pass

  • Local bus and light rail: $55.00
  • Express/RAPID: $85.00
  • Reduced: $27.50

Fare hikes loom for metro Phoenix bus and light-rail riders

Will higher fares lead to empty stops?

[Source: Sean Holstege, Arizona Republic] — Just as ridership is growing to record levels on the Valley’s public transit, authorities are edging closer to enacting big fare hikes.  Officials are weighing base-fare increases of at least 40 percent to maintain services as other revenue falls sharply and operating costs rise.  As with other transit systems around the country, the situation is dire: Ridership is growing at a record pace while operating money is drying up.

Some Valley transit officials fear the proposed increases for buses and trains could scare off new riders and undo the early popularity of the new light-rail system.  Typically, higher fares also hurt poorer riders who depend on the system most.

The Phoenix City Council made a key move this week when it passed a city budget that relies on pending fare hikes, the first across-the-board increases since 1995.  The city’s plans could change.  The Regional Public Transportation Authority, which oversees the Valley cities’ combined transit system, is considering its own fare increase.  An authority committee discussing the issue Wednesday indicated a fare increase was inevitable.  The authority is expected to take final action March 4.

The plans from Phoenix and the transit board are for significant increases: The base $1.25 fare would likely increase by 50 cents, a 40 percent jump.  Costs for an all-day pass, which includes transfers from bus to bus or bus to rail, could double, from $2.50 to $5.

Fare hikes would hit the region’s poor, elderly, and disabled riders most.  A new Valley Metro study says that half the region’s bus riders have no cars and three-quarters earn less than $35,000 a year.  “Five dollars (for a day pass)? For what?” said Anthony Murray, a 46-year-old mechanic who earns $360 a week at Hertz Rent-a-Car near the airport. “I’d have to cut off my phone for sure.” [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Voice your opinion about Valley Metro’s potential fare hikes

[Source: Valley Metro] — Valley Metro, the regional public transit agency, is hosting public hearings to receive the public’s input on proposed changes to the fare structure that guides the price of bus service (local, regional, express, and RAPID), Phoenix and East Valley Dial-a-Ride, and METRO light rail service.  Public hearings encourage riders and interested individuals to give input on the proposed fare changes.  A final recommendation will be presented to city councils as required and the Valley Metro Board of Directors in early 2009.

The last fare change occurred in December 2007, which included the elimination of transfer.  Current proposed fare changes are due to a decline in sales tax revenues that fund a majority of transit service in the Valley.  The proposed fare changes include a fare increase of up to $1.00 on a one-ride local fare that is currently $1.25 and price increases on the all-day, 3-day, 7-day and 31-day passes.  The new fares could be in effect in July 2009.

Comments are being accepted through January 24, 2009 in the following ways: public hearings, e-mail, customer service phone line, and written responses mailed to Valley Metro RPTA.  Details for the Phoenix meetings are given below.  With the exception of the Jan. 15 meeting, open house begins at 5:30 p.m. and public hearing presentations and public input starts at 6 p.m.

  • Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2009 ~ Sunnyslope Community Center, 802 E. Vogel Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85020
  • Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009 ~ Cesar Chavez Public Library, 3635 W. Baseline Road, Laveen, AZ 85339
  • Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009 ~ Maricopa Association of Governments, #200, Saguaro Room, 302 N. 1st Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85003 (open house begins at 12:30 p.m. and the public hearing begins at 1 p.m.)

Other methods to give input on the proposed fare changes:

  • E-mail comments
  • Customer Service will accept comments at 602-253-5000
  • Written comments can be sent to: Valley Metro RPTA, Attn: Fare Program Manager, 302 N. 1st Ave., #700, Phoenix, AZ 85003

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

Metro Phoenix light-rail, bus fares may go up due to increased costs

[Source: Kerry Fehr-Snyder, Arizona Republic] — Before the Valley’s light-rail service ever begins, the cost to ride the train and city buses may be headed up.  The issue of raising the Valley’s regional fare policy has been brewing for several months as transit officials have struggled to cover rising gas prices and other increased operation costs, said Greg Jordan, Tempe’s transit administrator.  Transit and light-rail costs are covered by a half-cent sales tax, which has fallen over the past year.

Sales-tax revenue fell by about 8 percent in August compared with the same month a year ago, according to the Maricopa Association of Governments.  Proposals to raise fares are expected to come before Valley Metro’s board, which oversees bus and light-rail service and is comprised of Valley mayors and City Council members, in January and February. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Phoenix residents invited to I-10 West community meetings

Two public meetings are planned for the METRO I-10 West high capacity transit study.  At these meetings, METRO will present the study’s initial results and recommendations on the possible alignment routes, station locations, and type of transit mode (light rail or bus rapid transit) for this future extension.  To date, METRO has identified the median of the I-10 West as the preferred transit alignment route between 83rd Avenue and the I-17 freeway.  The alignment connecting from the I-17 to the downtown Phoenix light rail line including various station locations and type of transit mode are still under evaluation.  You are encouraged to attend these meetings and provide input.

  • Date: Thursday, November 13, 2008
  • Time: 5 – 7 p.m.
  • Place: Carpenter’s Union Training Center, 4547 W. McDowell Rd.

The I-10 West Community Working Groups (CWG) were established to ensure pubic participation in the process which will help guide the direction of the alignment, transit technology, and station locations for the study area.  The Downtown CWG represents the study area east of the I-17.  The Mainline CWG represents the study area west of the I-17.  Both CWGs meet once a month (see meeting details below). Stakeholders within the study area are encouraged to participate.

  • Date: Wednesday, December 3, 2008 (Note: They usually are held on the fourth Wednesday of the month, except during holidays.)
  • Time: 6 – 8 p.m.
  • Place: Metro Office, 101 N. 1st Ave., #1300

Meeting Contact: Rob Antoniak, 602-385-1614.  For information on the I-10 West expansion, click here.  For more general information on Valley Metro, click here.

Valley students could be among biggest light-rail users

[Source: Arizona Republic] — Some of the biggest users of the light rail are expected to be students, and along the light-rail line there are more than 20 schools, from preschools through colleges.  Light rail played a role in Phoenix School of Law relocating to its central Phoenix location near the intersection of Indian School and Central Avenue.  Student and faculty members alike say they plan to take the rail.

Alicia Togno, the law school’s assistant dean for administration, says she will encourage students to take rail to take the stress out of commuting.  “It is a time to gear up or decompress depending on when you are traveling,” she said.  She plans to take it daily from her home in the Willo district.

Dan Johnson, 21, a first-year law student, is from Chicago and is used to taking the elevated train there.  He lives in Tempe and plans to ride his bike to the station at Apache Boulevard and McClintock Drive.  It takes him 35 minutes to drive and he considers that wasted time. Taking light rail might not save him any time, but on the train he’ll be able to read, he says. The law school is discussing subsidizing some of the costs and that would be a financial benefit, he said.  “It would be nice to say money on gas and wear and tear on my car,” he said.

Down the street, Central High School now pays for bus passes for students and will pay for light-rail passes. The stop is on Central across from the school.  Click here to view a Community Walk map on schools along metro Phoenix light rail