Valley Metro Bus
|Headquarters||U.S. Bank Center|
101 North 1st Avenue, Suite 1100
Phoenix, Arizona, United States 
|Service area||Maricopa County|
|Service type||Local, express, shuttle, paratransit|
|Fuel type||Diesel, Diesel-electric Hybrid, CNG, LNG|
|Operator||City of Phoenix, RPTA, other various city governments|
Valley Metro Bus is a transit bus system for public transport in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States. Buses are operated by private companies contracted by Valley Metro and the City of Phoenix. Service currently operates throughout the broader Phoenix Metropolitan Area. All buses have wheelchair ramps or lifts, and with the exception of paratransit vehicles all buses have bike racks.
- 1 Operations
- 2 Route list
- 3 Customer service
- 4 Passenger information systems
- 5 Valley Metro service providers
- 6 Bus fleet
- 7 References
There are over 100 bus routes contracted by Valley Metro, including regular routes, limited stop routes, and community circulators. Bus frequency, hours, and days of operation vary by route. The most heavily used routes have peak service frequency of every 10 minutes and run as late as 3:30am, while less used routes run every 30 minutes off peak, with service ending at midnight.
Route types and naming conventions
There are currently 60 local bus routes that form Valley Metro's super-grid bus system. They are numbered roughly according to the address on the Phoenix area's street grid on which they travel. For example:
- Route 35 is a north-south route which runs along 35th Avenue, which is the 3500 block, west, on the street grid.
- Route 0 runs north-south along Central Avenue, which is the dividing street or "zero point" separating east and west Phoenix on the street grid.
- Route 50 runs east-west along Camelback Road, which is the 5000 block, north, on the street grid
- Route 72 runs north-south along Scottsdale and Rural Roads, which are the 7200 block, east, on the street grid.
- Route 104 runs north-south along Alma School Road, which corresponds to the 10400 block, east, on the street grid (but not in the city of Mesa itself, which uses a different street numbering/zero point origin from the city of Phoenix).
- Routes 7 and 8 each run on 7th Street and 7th Avenue respectively. Given that Phoenix has numbered thoroughfares designated as "Avenues" west of Central and "Streets" east of Central, Route 8 is one digit higher to avoid confusion with Route 7 which are both the 700 blocks.
- Route 17 runs east-west along McDowell Road, which actually is the 1600 block, north, on the street grid. Route 17 is one digit higher to avoid confusion with Route 16, which runs north-south along 16th Street which is the 1600 block, east, on the street grid.
The community circulator routes are mostly a free service, the exceptions being the Avondale Zoom routes with a 50 cent fare each; formerly the Glendale Urban Shuttle (GUS) routes had a 25 cent fare each to ride; this fare was eliminated on October 23, 2017. They supplement the standard grid service with routes that connect neighborhoods to nearby business districts. Circulator vehicles are typically minibuses, with the Avondale Zoom routes, Scottsdale Trolley routes, and select Tempe Orbit routes using mid-size buses and the DASH circulator serving Downtown Phoenix using 40-foot buses. The naming convention varies by the communities they serve, such as the Scottsdale Neighborhood Trolley, Tempe Orbit Jupiter, and Phoenix SMART.
The LINK routes were limited-stop, streamlined bus connections to transit centers served by Valley Metro Rail. These routes used upgraded bus shelters that have LED "Next Bus" signs and bus rapid transit-styled vehicles with traffic signal priority. They were named after the street they travel on. The two routes were the Main Street LINK and the Arizona Avenue LINK. LINK service was discontinued on October 24, 2016, and was replaced by enhanced local service on Routes 40 and 112.
The six RAPID routes are limited-stop commuter routes in the city of Phoenix that travel from Park and Ride lots in outlying neighborhoods near major freeways to RAPID stops in the downtown business core. These routes are mostly named for the freeway on which they travel, such as RAPID I-10 East (two routes connect newly developed neighborhoods along Baseline Road with downtown via Central Avenue). They are unidirectional, traveling toward downtown in the morning and out of downtown in the afternoons. These routes use NABI 45C-LFW suburban buses with a special paint scheme.
The express routes are also limited-stop commuter routes. They operate in a similar fashion to the RAPID routes, from outlying Park and Ride lots and pick-up points in suburban areas outside the city of Phoenix, with higher fares than standard routes, but the same as RAPID routes. They are numbered in the 500s, with the second digit indicating the area they serve, using the following scheme:
- 51x - Scottsdale
- 52x - Tempe
- 53x - Mesa and Gilbert
- 54x - Chandler
- 56x - Southwest Valley (Avondale, Goodyear, Buckeye, and Tolleson)
- 57x - Northwest Valley (Glendale, Peoria, Surprise, and Sun Cities)
These routes use a mix of bus types, ranging from transit-style buses with hard seats to "semi-suburban" buses (with highback, non-reclining seats) to full suburban buses (with a single door, luggage racks and personal reading lights). These routes are also unidirectional, traveling into downtown Phoenix in the morning (using the major freeways after traveling on surface streets for part of the trip) and out of downtown in the afternoons.
|Blue||Transdev-Phoenix||Formerly Veolia-Phoenix. |
Operates the North and South Phoenix facilities.
|Orange||First Transit-Phoenix||Operates the West Phoenix facility.|
|Pink||First Transit-RPTA||Operates the Mesa and Tempe facilities. |
Replaced Veolia-RPTA (Mesa) and Veolia-Tempe on July 1, 2013.
|Purple||Total Transit||Contracted by the RPTA. |
Operated from the Total Transit facility in southeast Glendale.
|Turquoise||City of Glendale||Only non-contracted routes in the system. |
Also operates Glendale Dial-a-Ride.
|Olive||RTW Management||Operations only, maintenance performed in-house.|
|Brown||Ajo Transportation||Contracted by the RPTA.|
|0||Central Avenue||Local||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix South,
|1||Washington/Jefferson Street||Local||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix South|
|3||Van Buren Street||Local||First Transit-Phoenix||Phoenix West|
|7||7th Street||Local||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix South,
|8||7th Avenue||Local||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix South,
|12||12th Street||Local||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix South,
|13||Buckeye Road||Local||First Transit-Phoenix||Phoenix West|
|15||15th Avenue||Local||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix South,
|16||16th/32nd Street||Local||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix South,
|17||McDowell Road||Local||First Transit-Phoenix||Phoenix West|
|19||19th Avenue||Local||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix South,
|27||27th Avenue||Local||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix South,
|28||Lower Buckeye Road||Local||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix South|
|29||Thomas Road||Local||First Transit-Phoenix||Phoenix West|
|30||University Drive||Local||First Transit-RPTA||Mesa, Tempe|
|32||32nd Street South||Local||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix South|
|35||35th Avenue||Local||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix South,
|39||40th Street North Phoenix||Local||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix North|
|40||Apache/Main Street||Local||First Transit-RPTA||Mesa, Tempe|
|41||Indian School Road||Local||First Transit-Phoenix||Phoenix West|
|43||43rd Avenue||Local||First Transit-Phoenix||Phoenix West|
|44||44th Street/Tatum Boulevard||Local||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix South,
|45||Broadway||Local||First Transit-RPTA||Mesa, Tempe|
|48||48th Street/Rio Salado Parkway||Local||First Transit-RPTA||Tempe|
|50||Camelback Road||Local||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix South,
|51||51st Avenue||Local||First Transit-Phoenix||Phoenix West|
|52||Roeser Road||Local||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix South|
|56||Priest Drive||Local||First Transit-RPTA||Tempe|
|59||59th Avenue||Local||First Transit-Phoenix||Phoenix West|
|60||Bethany Home Road||Local||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix South|
|61||Southern Avenue||Local||First Transit-RPTA||Mesa, Tempe|
|67||67th Avenue||Local||First Transit-Phoenix||Phoenix West|
|70||24th Street/Glendale||Local||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix South|
|72||Scottsdale/Rural Road||Local||First Transit-RPTA||Tempe|
|75||75th Avenue||Local||First Transit-Phoenix||Phoenix West|
|77||Baseline Road||Local||First Transit-RPTA||Mesa, Tempe|
|81||Hayden/McClintock Drive||Local||First Transit-RPTA||Mesa, Tempe|
|83||83rd Avenue||Local||First Transit-Phoenix||Phoenix West|
|90||Dunlap/Cave Creek Road||Local||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix North|
|96||Dobson Road||Local||First Transit-RPTA||Mesa, Tempe|
|104||Alma School Road||Local||First Transit-RPTA||Mesa, Tempe|
|106||Peoria Avenue||Local||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix North|
|108||Elliot/48th Street||Local||First Transit-RPTA||Mesa, Tempe|
|112||Country Club/Arizona Avenue||Local||First Transit-RPTA||Mesa|
|120||Mesa Drive||Local||First Transit-RPTA||Mesa|
|122||Cactus Road||Local||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix North|
|128||Stapley Drive||Local||First Transit-RPTA||Mesa|
|136||Gilbert Road||Local||First Transit-RPTA||Mesa|
|138||Thunderbird Road||Local||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix North|
|140||Ray Road||Local||First Transit-RPTA||Mesa, Tempe|
|154||Greenway Road||Local||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix North|
|156||Chandler Boulevard/Williams Field Road||Local||First Transit-RPTA||Mesa, Tempe|
|170||Bell Road||Local||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix North|
|184||Power Road||Local||First Transit-RPTA||Mesa, Tempe|
|186||Union Hills Drive||Local||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix North|
|531||Mesa/Gilbert||Express||First Transit-RPTA||Mesa, Tempe|
|535||Northeast Mesa/Downtown||Express||First Transit-RPTA||Mesa|
|542||Chandler/Downtown||Express||First Transit-RPTA||Mesa, Tempe|
|562||Goodyear/Downtown||Express||Total Transit||Southeast Glendale|
|563||Buckeye||Express||Total Transit||Southeast Glendale|
|571||Surprise||Express||Total Transit||Southeast Glendale|
|573||Northwest Valley/Downtown||Express||Total Transit||Southeast Glendale|
|575||Northwest Valley/Loop 101/Downtown||Express||Total Transit||Southeast Glendale|
|685||Gila Bend Regional Connector||Express||Ajo Transportation||Ajo|
|GL||Grand Avenue Limited||Express||Total Transit||Southeast Glendale||Provides express service, but with a local fare.|
|ZOOM North||Avondale Zoom North||Circulator||Total Transit||Southeast Glendale||$0.50 fare to ride.|
|ZOOM South||Avondale Zoom South||Circulator||Total Transit||Southeast Glendale||$0.50 fare to ride.|
|GUS 1||Glendale Urban Shuttle 1||Circulator||City of Glendale||Northwest Glendale|
|GUS 2||Glendale Urban Shuttle 2||Circulator||City of Glendale||Northwest Glendale|
|GUS 3||Glendale Urban Shuttle 3||Circulator||City of Glendale||Northwest Glendale|
|BUZZ||Mesa Downtown BUZZ||Circulator||First Transit-RPTA||Tempe|
|ALEX||Phoenix Neighborhood Circulator - ALEX (Ahwatukee)||Circulator||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix South|
|DASH||Phoenix Neighborhood Circulator - DASH (Gov. Loop)||Circulator||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix South|
|MARY||Phoenix Neighborhood Circulator - MARY (Maryvale)||Circulator||First Transit-Phoenix||Phoenix West|
|SMART||Phoenix Neighborhood Circulator - SMART (Sunnyslope)||Circulator||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix North|
|68CM||Scottsdale 68th Street/Camelback Trolley||Circulator||RTW Management||Scottsdale|
|OLDT||Scottsdale Old Town Trolley||Circulator||RTW Management||Scottsdale|
|MLHD||Scottsdale Miller/Hayden Trolley||Circulator||RTW Management||Scottsdale|
|MSTG||Scottsdale Mustang Trolley||Circulator||RTW Management||Scottsdale|
|FLSH||FLASH Forward (Arizona State University)||Circulator||First Transit-RPTA||Tempe|
|FLSH||FLASH Back (Arizona State University)||Circulator||First Transit-RPTA||Tempe|
|EART||Tempe - Orbit Earth||Circulator||First Transit-RPTA||Tempe|
|JUPI||Tempe - Orbit Jupiter||Circulator||First Transit-RPTA||Tempe|
|MARS||Tempe - Orbit Mars||Circulator||First Transit-RPTA||Tempe|
|MERC||Tempe - Orbit Mercury||Circulator||First Transit-RPTA||Tempe|
|VENU||Tempe - Orbit Venus||Circulator||First Transit-RPTA||Tempe|
|STRN||Tempe - Orbit Saturn||Circulator||First Transit-RPTA||Tempe|
|SR-51||SR-51 Rapid||Rapid||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix North|
|I-10E||I-10 East Rapid||Rapid||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix South|
|I-10W||I-10 West Rapid||Rapid||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix South|
|I-17||I-17 Rapid||Rapid||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix North|
|SME||Central/South Mountain East Rapid||Rapid||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix South|
|SMW||Central/South Mountain West Rapid||Rapid||Transdev-Phoenix||Phoenix South|
Note that the listed facility assignments for Transdev-Phoenix operated routes are normal assignments, however, routes normally operated from the South facility may occasionally be substituted with buses from the North facility and vice versa.
The Transit Book (known until December 2008 as the Bus Book, and mentioned above) is updated twice yearly and contains maps and schedules for all routes. Copies are available at no charge at Valley Metro ticket offices, many public libraries, community colleges and other civic facilities around the metropolitan area, and on the buses themselves. Because the Transit Book is difficult to carry around easily (the size is similar to a medium-sized catalog, averaging about 250 pages), patrons often use it to quickly reference the time when their next bus will arrive, and simply leave the book sitting at their bus stop when finished, for the use of other riders.
Additionally, route schedules are posted at most bus stops in Tempe, selected bus stops in Scottsdale and Glendale, and at major transit centers in the city of Phoenix and throughout the Valley. On RAPID routes, schedules are electronic and are based on real-time information.
An automated next scheduled arrival service, NextRide, provides future arrival times for routes that serve a bus stop or light rail station. Each bus stop and light rail station has a five digit "STOP#" found on a sign affixed to the bus stop sign post, shelter, or rail station. By calling the customer service number or by sending a text message, the passenger will be provided with the next three scheduled arrival times. If it is within 15 minutes of a scheduled arrival, a real-time estimate of when the bus or train will arrive will be provided, based on the vehicle's current location along the route.
A customer service call center is operated for passengers to plan their bus trips with the assistance of either an automated voice response system or a live customer service representative. The Valley Metro website  also has an online trip planning function, and includes all schedules and maps featured in the Transit Book; since 2006, Valley Metro is relying more on the website to post schedule information and is printing fewer paper copies of the Transit Book.
Passenger information systems
Like most major cities, all buses (except for the non-Phoenix circulator vehicles) include the Route Scout on-board passenger information system, which includes a lighted marquee displaying the correct date and time, and an audio and visual Stop Requested announcement. Automatic Voice Annunciation (AVA) for audio and visual announcements for each major intersection, as well as minor cross streets.
Previously, these were voiced by longtime Phoenix radio personality, Liz Boyle  , however these prerecorded announcements are slowly being phased out in favor of speech synthesis, to allow for easier updates. This same system is used by the LA Metro fleet and was introduced on the 2004 New Flyer D60LF buses.
Valley Metro Rail vehicles feature a similar passenger information system which uses speech synthesis technology, rather than a recorded voice, to announce approaching stations and give other travel-related announcements. Train operators may also use the vehicle's public address system at their discretion.
The RAPID bus stops as well as the former LINK bus stops include a display with real time predictions for the next arrival at that stop. Additionally, all Valley Metro Rail platforms feature annunciation for the approximate arrival of the next train, while also allowing for messages regarding potential delays and general service information.
Valley Metro service providers
|Name of Provider||Service Contracted By||Local Routes||Express Routes||RAPID Routes||Local Area Shuttles||Paratransit||Routes Previously Operated|
|Transdev (formerly Veolia Transport)||City of Phoenix||0, 1, 7, 8, 10, 12, 15, 16, 19, 27, 28, 32, 35, 39, 44, 50, 52, 60, 70, 80, 90, 106, 122, 138, 154, 170, 186, Light Rail (ATC)||SR-51, I-10 East, I-10 West, I-17, Central Ave/South Mountain East, Central Ave/South Mountain West||ALEX (Ahwatukee Local Explorer), DASH (Downtown Area Shuttle), SMART (Sunnyslope Multi-Access Residential Transit)||Red Line (Weekday operations, route discontinued 29 December 2008), Blue Line (Route discontinued 29 December 2008), 581 (Route discontinued in 2012)|
|MV Transportation||City of Phoenix||Phoenix Dial-a-Ride||ALEX (Service transferred to Transdev-Phoenix on July 1, 2016)|
|First Transit (formerly Laidlaw Transit Services)||City of Phoenix||3, 13, 17, 17A, 29, 41, 43, 51, 59, 67, 75, 83||MARY (Maryvale Area Ride for You)||Green (Renamed Route 29 on 29 December 2008), 560 (Route discontinued in 2012), I-10 West RAPID (Service transferred to Veolia/Transdev-Phoenix in July 2012), 19C (Route discontinued in October 2015), GL (Service transferred to Valu Trans/RPTA in April 2016)|
|First Transit||RPTA, City of Tempe||30, 40, 45, 48, 56, 61, 62, 65, 66, 72, 77, 81, 96, 104, 108, 112, 120, 128, 136, 140, 156, 184||514, 520, 521, 522, 531, 535, 541, 542||BUZZ (Downtown Mesa BUZZ), FLASH Forward/Back (Free Local Area Shuttle), ORBIT||Red Line (Weekend operations as Veolia-Tempe, route discontinued 29 December 2008), 76 (as Veolia-Tempe, Service transferred to Ollie the Trolley and now known as Miller Road Trolley), 84, 92, 114, 277, 510 (as Veolia-Tempe, Route discontinued July 2012 and replaced by Route 514 due to budget crisis), 511 (Route discontinued October 2014 due to low ridership), 512 (as Veolia-Tempe, Route discontinued July 2012 and replaced by Route 514 due to budget crisis), 532 (as Veolia-RPTA, Route discontinued in July 2012 due to budget crisis), 534 (as Veolia-RPTA, Route discontinued in 2008 due to low ridership), 540 (as Veolia-RPTA, Route discontinued July 2012 due to budget crisis), FLASH McAllister (route discontinued on December 14, 2015 due to low ridership), Main Street LINK (Route discontinued on October 24, 2016, replaced by enhanced service on Route 40), Arizona Avenue LINK (Route discontinued on October 24, 2016, replaced by enhanced service on Route 112)|
|TotalTransit (formerly Valu Trans)||RPTA||562, 563, 571, 573, 575, GL||Avondale Zoom (North and South)||70X, 572, 251 (Merged with Route 51 in April 2018)|
|RTW Management (operations only)||City of Scottsdale||Downtown Trolley, Miller Road Trolley, Neighborhood Trolley, Talking Stick Trolley, Resort Trolley||Hospitality Trolley (Seasonal route discontinued after 2014-2015 winter season due to low ridership)|
|Ajo Transportation||RPTA||685||660 (Route discontinued October 2011 due to low ridership)|
|City of Glendale||City of Glendale||GUS 1, GUS 2, GUS 3||Glendale Dial-a-Ride|
Unification of Tempe bus operations with the RPTA
In 2012, the City of Tempe introduced a proposal that would unify its transit operations with the RPTA. Under the new agreement, all Tempe bus operations would be handed over to the RPTA, where the Tempe transit facility would be utilized by the RPTA to reduce costs and improve efficiencies for certain routes by reducing deadheads due to its more central location than the existing RPTA facility in Mesa.
On November 24, 2012, the City of Tempe agreed to move forward with unifying its transit operations with the RPTA. The contract for both agencies was initially planned to be awarded to First Transit on December 13, 2012, however, Veolia Transport protested the award on the grounds that First Transit wasn't releasing information of where their cost savings would come from. The protest was denied and the contract was officially awarded to First Transit on January 24, 2013.
Valley Metro and member cities maintain a growing fleet of over 800 vehicles for public bus routes and nearly 200 for paratransit.
- ^ http://www.valleymetro.org/valley_metro/contact_us/
- ^ "Valley Metro Transit Book, October 2017" (PDF). Valley Metro. p. 3. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
- ^ http://www.valleymetro.org/images/uploads/12411_transit_centers.pdf
- ^ http://www.metro-magazine.com/uploads/images/top1002015.pdf
- ^ http://www.valleymetro.org/publications_reports/ridership_reportsl
- ^ Valley Metro Bus page
- ^ "Valley Metro - Route 16 Schedule" . Valley Metro RPTA. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
- ^ "Valley Metro NextRide" .
- ^ "Valley Metro Board Packet, August 2016" (PDF). Valley Metro. p. 21. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
- ^ "Unification of Bus Contracts Being Explored" . Valley Metro. 22 June 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
- ^ Michelle Peirano (24 November 2012). "Valley Metro to operate Tempe buses under service contract" . East Valley Tribune. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
- ^ "Approval of Bus Contract Unifies Bus Service Operations" . Valley Metro RPTA. 24 January 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
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