Blog Archives

Update on Possible Bus Strike

The Friends of Transit share this update on the continuing possibility of a bus strike affecting some of Valley Metro’s bus routes:

As you may be aware, the bus operators who work for Veolia Transportation Services (VTS) and are represented by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433 have been negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement. VTS has a contract with the city of Phoenix to operate 31 of the region’s 100 Valley Metro bus routes.

This week, the Public Transit Department was informed by VTS that the negotiation situation had not changed and that a strike is very possible in the near future. Due to the uncertain nature of this situation, transit users should be aware that a service interruption could occur at any time until a new labor agreement is signed.

Until that time, those who use public transit should check the status of transit service during commutes.

Information and updates will be posted to phoenix.gov. Passengers also can get updates at www.valleymetro.org or by calling 602-253-5000 to talk with a customer service representative from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. or for recorded messages after hours. During bus service hours, the city will broadcast live announcements on Phoenix buses to keep passengers informed about any possibility of a service disruption.

Please pass along this information to anyone you know who uses public transit. The situation is ongoing until a new labor agreement is signed between the parties, and transit users are strongly encouraged to check in periodically.

To our knowledge, this does not affect METRO light rail.

As we get new information, we’ll update this page as well as our Twitter feed, @downtownvoices.

News: Valley employers reduce commutes, alleviate pollution

[Source: Valley Metro]

February’s ‘Try 1 in 5’ challenge reduces pollution by 8,114 pounds

How many cars on Valley roadways have just one passenger when they could carry more, and how much pollution and traffic congestion could be alleviated if more of us share the ride?

During February’s Rideshare Month, 36 companies answered Valley Metro’s ‘Try 1 in 5’ Employer Challenge by asking their employees to help reduce pollution by taking alternative forms of transportation to work instead of driving alone. Employees stepped up to the challenge as they banded together to carpool or vanpool;  worked from home ; biked or walked to work, or rode the bus and light rail as a way to share the commute.. During the one week challenge Feb. 13-19 participating employers saved 373,263 miles from being driven alone and kept an estimated 8,114 pounds of pollution (or four tons) out of the air.

According to the Maricopa Association of Governments, every 46 miles driven generates 1 pound of pollution. Challenge participants resolved to ‘Try 1 in 5’ by tracking their alternative mode usage during the week and submitting the results to Valley Metro at the end of the week.

“Imagine the difference we could make in our air quality when more of us take action,” said Dave Boggs, executive director of Valley Metro. “We’re approaching the time of year when high temperatures and vehicle emissions combine to create unhealthy ground-level ozone pollution. Can you commit to try to share a trip at least once a week?”

Winning the ‘Try 1 in 5’ challenge in the small employer category was WorldatWork, a Scottsdale-based, not-for-profit organization that provides education, conferences and research for human resource professionals. Exactly 45 percent of their 111 employees participated by carpooling, teleworking, biking and walking to work.

Winning the ‘Try 1 in 5’ challenge in the medium-size employer category was Desert Mountain Club, Inc., a private golf community in Scottsdale. Their employees vanpooled and carpooled to work, saving 54,979 miles from being driven alone.

SRP won the challenge in the large employer category, with 8 percent participation from more than 4,000 employees who carpooled, vanpooled, rode bus or light rail, biked, walked, or worked from home. That modest percentage of staff saved 40,620 miles from being driven alone.

Each winner will receive a Clean Air Campaign Award at Valley Metro’s annual awards luncheon to be held later this year. All employers participating in the challenge are part of the Maricopa County Trip Reduction Program, which asks organizations with more than 50 employees or driving-age students at a single worksite to promote alternative modes of transportation to its commuters.

Try 1 in 5 and Rideshare Month are programs  of the Clean Air Campaign, which is sponsored by the Maricopa Association of Governments, Maricopa County Air Quality Department and the Arizona Departments of Environmental Quality and Transportation.

Valley Metro/RPTA provides eco-friendly public transit options to residents of greater Phoenix and Maricopa County, including a clean-fuel bus fleet, low-emissions light rail, a bio-diesel Dial-a-Ride fleet, online carpool matching and bus trip mapping, and bicycle and telework assistance. Funding is provided by local, state and federal revenues; and administered by a board of 16 governments working to improve and regionalize the public transit system.

Contact:

Susan Tierney
Public Information Officer
602.523.6004 (O)
602.292.4093 (M)
stierney@valleymetro.org

Kimberly Gale
R&R Partners
480.317.6082 (O)
480.388.9752 (M)
kimberly.gale@rrpartners.com

Public meeting on west Phoenix light-rail extension

azcentral.com

Metro light rail is inviting the public to a meeting next Wednesday so residents can learn and comment on details of the agency’s plan for light rail’s west extension through west Phoenix.

The proposal under consideration by Metro’s advisory board involves laying track from Central Avenue along Jefferson Street, past the Capitol and state buildings to Interstate 17, then north to Interstate 10, where it would then head west to 79th Avenue.

Barring any serious funding issues, the 11-mile west extension could be up and running by 2021.

Some residents in the St. Matthews neighborhood near the state Capitol grounds oppose the proposal, fearing the extension could affect the historic homes in the area. But representatives from various neighborhoods, including Maryvale, have supported the proposal.

And some critics have argued Metro light rail should create a faster commuter line, instead of using the much slower light rail trains, to serve west Phoenix.

Metro has been studying the west Phoenix area for a possible extension since 2007.

The meeting is from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, at the Isaac Middle School cafeteria, 3402 W. McDowell Road.

For more information, contact Terry Gruver at (480) 664-2631or via e-mail,tgruver@metrolightrail.org.

– Emily Gersema, emily.gersema@arizonarepublic.com

Phoenix Marathon will Detour Downtown Bus & Light Rail on Sunday

[Source: Valley Metro]

Service disruption, but connection between race start and finish remains

Bus

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 http://www.ValleyMetro.org or call customer service at 602-253-5000, or follow @phoenixmetrobus and/or @MetroRail on Twitter.

Local Bands Promote Transit in Phoenix

New Year, New Habit, New Song!

What better way to start off the new year that with a new commitment to use transit!

Valley Metro is starting the year off right as they launch the third song “Just One Pass” today! Residents across the Valley will get a chance to view the new instructional video and feel more confident and comfortable in making the decision to use transit. With gas prices starting to rise, there is no better time to make a “new year’s resolution” to use transit more frequently this year.

The first two songs have proven to be wildly successful and have developed quite a following!

To watch the all the videos, got to www.valleymetro.org/notes.

 

 

Downtown Phoenix’s Central Station will be temporary closed on Dec. 11

Phoenix’s Central Station, Central Avenue and Van Buren Street, will be temporarily closed to bus and light rail service from 5 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010.  Surrounding streets will be closed to pedestrians and traffic while an airlift for a nearby construction project takes place.

Metro trains will not stop at the platforms at Central Station and local city buses will move to temporary stops.

Light rail riders can board and deboard at the Washington/Central and Jefferson/First Avenue platforms. There is also a possibility of short westbound delays.

Bus passengers can pick up buses at one of three temporary stops:

  • Routes 0 northbound, 1 westbound, 7 northbound, 8 northbound, 10 east bound, and 12 northbound at the northeast corner of Van Buren and Fifth Streets (use the RAPID stop).
  • Routes 1 eastbound, 3 eastbound, 7 southbound, and 15 at the southeast corner of Van Buren and Fifth Streets.
  • Routes 0 southbound, 3 westbound, 8 southbound, and 10 westbound at the northwest corner of Washington and Third Streets.

Transit passengers will not have access to the fare vending machines at Central Station during this time so they must purchase transit passes at other light rail platforms or on board buses.

For other transit information, contact the Valley Metro Customer Service representative at 602-253-5000 or go on-line to ValleyMetro.org.

 

Downtown Phoenix’s Central Station is Undergoing a New Phase of Construction

[Source: City of Phoenix Press Release]

As Phoenix’s Central Station undergoes another phase of refurbishment, some bus stops will be relocated to surrounding streets and the customer service office will move to a temporary trailer on the site.  The move is effective Monday, November 15, 2010.  Go HERE to find a map of relocated bus stops; the light rail platforms are not affected.

The customer service office, where fare media is sold, will be closed from noon on Wednesday, Nov. 10 and reopen at 8 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 15 for the move.

In the meantime, passengers are encouraged to use the fare vending machines located on the light rail platforms to buy transit passes which can be used both on Valley Metro buses and METRO light rail.

The City of Phoenix received $5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding to refurbish the transit center located at Central Avenue and Van Buren.  At the project completion in summer 2011, the transit offices will be expanded to accommodate the staff and functions of customer service and of the Police Transit Bureau.  Central Station will also have updated shade structures, lighting, and signage; and a number of sustainable features including a solar power system for the site.

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Police shut down downtown Phoenix street to investigate suspicious package

[Source: ABC15]

A downtown Phoenix street was shut down for several hours Monday night as police investigated a suspicious package found in the area.

Officers responded to the scene near 1st Avenue and Van Buren Street around 8:30 p.m. after reports that a large box was found sitting on Van Buren. Officials say the box raised suspicions after it was discovered to have some type of wires coming from inside.

Video from Air15 showed police vehicles blocking Van Buren from 1st to 3rd Avenue. Police reportedly evacuated surrounding businesses as a precaution.

Officials say a bomb squad unit at the scene investigated and detonated the device late Monday.

No injuries were reported.

The box was reportedly found in an alleyway behind Valley Metro headquarters. Phoenix police confirm they are looking into the possibility the scare may be connected to a current transit dispute.

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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 ValleyMetro.org for bus and METRO schedules.

Go to ValleyMetro.org 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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Downtown Phoenix emerges as light rail collision hot spot

One of the 52 light rail collisions this past year (Photo: Emmanuel Lozano, Arizona Republic)

[Source: Sean Holstege, Arizona Republic] — The Valley’s light-rail track runs over 20 miles, but almost half of Metro’s crashes in the past year have occurred along a single mile-and-a-quarter stretch that runs through downtown Phoenix.  The L-shaped route from Central Station to Seventh Street is packed with bars, businesses, pedestrians, and distracted motorists, a tough environment for even slow-moving Metro trains.

Of the 52 crashes logged last year — an average of one a week since the $1.4 billion system opened in December 2008 — 23 have been in downtown Phoenix.  Of those, 17 involved right turns along a few blocks of Washington and Jefferson streets.  Metro recorded five crashes at just one corner: Jefferson and First streets.  None of the crashes was fatal.

Phoenix police Lt. Adrian Ruiz says most downtown accidents happen because drivers get confused by unfamiliar streets and because Phoenix drivers have a bad habit of running red lights.  “I see people every day who disregard the no-left-, no-right-turn-on-red signals,” said Ruiz, who runs the department’s transit bureau.  “Drivers in Arizona are used to seeing where they have to go… They get impatient.”

Many of the downtown Phoenix crashes arise from cars making right turns across the tracks.  A red arrow prohibits the maneuver, but split-second instincts and years of conditioning tell drivers it is OK to turn right on red.

Phoenix-area drivers are still making mistakes.  Police have blamed all 52 crashes involving trains on motorists, not rail operators.  In an effort to solve the problems and reduce the number of collisions, engineers, recognizing an emerging pattern, have begun changing signs and signals at accident hot spots.  [Note: Read the the full article at Downtown Phoenix emerges as light rail collision hot spot.]