Out and About in Phoenix: The Valley Metro
Getting around with kids, seniors and people with disabilities
- Valley Metro
- The light rail system
- Prices, passes and rate changes
- Traveling with kids, seniors and people with disabilities
- Other services for commuters
Valley Metro is the Regional Public Transportation Authority (RPTA) for Maricopa County, which serves the greater Phoenix metro area. Valley Metro provides bus service on major lines from 5 am until 10 pm every day, including weekends. For detailed route schedules, visit Valley Metro for up to date information.
The busses are reliable, in good condition, and generally on schedule, but many riders have voiced concerns about busses arriving late. Phoenix is working on this! Allow extra time when planning a trip. Seating is not an issue -- busses have plenty of room and comfortable benches. The RPTA has a reputation for being safe and family friendly. In fact, kids under 6 ride for free. Most of the bus stops offer covered seating while you wait, which can be important in the Phoenix heat.
The Valley Metro has a lot of different routes that cater to both commuters and visitors. If you want to go somewhere, most likely there will be a bus going there. Plans to expand hours and bus routes are in the works, as well as adding more buses to the fleet in order to reduce wait times. Riders can choose between fixed, rapid and express routes. Rapid and express routes are dedicated lines with fewer stops. The Rider Alert Page is a handy tool to check if there are detours or construction on your route that might slow your trip.
Light rail system
Currently in production, the Metro Light Rail System is a street-level train that will provide public transportation to complement the bus system. The first line is anticipated to be opened for use in December 2008. The planned routes will complement existing bus routes, with the major lines running through the most traveled areas in Phoenix. This is an exciting addition to our public transit system and will feature accessible stations and trains for senior citizens and people with disabilities. These accessible stations and trains will be great for moms with strollers as well!
Valley Metro passes, fares and rate changes
Effective December 1st, 2007, Valley Metro will implement rate changes and updates which are available on their site. Be sure to visit for the most recent information on fares, passes and updates.
Transfers are no longer part of the fare system. Instead, riders who will be using the bus throughout the day will purchase daily passes. There are no restrictions on these passes, except that they are only valid for the day of purchase. Fare can be purchased online, at transit centers and participating retailers. All day passes can also be purchased on the bus.
Traveling with kids, seniors and people with disabilities
- Dial-a-ride: great for seniors and people with special transportation needs
- Other services
- Park and ride
Discounts are available for senior citizens (aged 65 and over), people with disabilities and children aged 6 to 18. More information about discounts can be found here, along with the application for reduced fares. Children 5 and under go free. Strollers, wheelchairs and bikes are allowed on the buses. Strollers must be folded before boarding and bikes must be placed on the bike racks that are affixed to the bus.
Dial-a-ride is another great service provided by Valley Metro. While each city in the metro area provides different services, the main goal of dial-a-ride is to provide transportation for people who cannot ride the traditional bus system, such as those with disabilities and seniors. It is wise to plan on scheduling as well in advance as possible to avoid any delay. Dial-a-ride fares are very similar to the reduced bus fares, and you have exact change when you use the service. To use dial-a-ride or to find out what services are available to you, call Valley Metro at 602.253.5000 or visit the Dial-a-Ride site.
One of Valley Metro's goals is to reduce the use of commuter vehicles in order to lessen traffic and pollution. Some of the programs available to commuters include:
This is a free service offered that will match you with others who are interested in carpooling, walking or biking together. The match is based on location and destination.
Valley Metro provides parking lots, located throughout town, where you can park your car for the day in order to carpool, vanpool or catch the bus. Many of these lots provide bike racks and covered parking. Here is a map that outlines where each lot is located: Park and Ride map
Some cities in the county offer shuttles and neighborhood circulators that will take riders around that town and will usually make any stop along the route. Participating towns include Ahwatukee, Glendale, Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale. These shuttles are very affordable and perfect for sightseers and students. Prices vary depending on what town you are in, but on average, the fare is about $.25. Visit the Valley Metro site for routes and prices.
Getting around town using public transportation is getting easier in Phoenix. There are some great existing programs and new exciting ones on the way.
Stacy Rempel is a freelance writer based in Phoenix.
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