Get Off the Road in Phoenix
Ride Metro Light Rail
Phoenix public transportation got a huge boost when Metro Light Rail opened in late December 2008. Twenty miles of the system is complete; carrying passengers from central Phoenix (north of downtown) to the west side of Mesa. The route runs near Ballpark Arena, Papago Park, Downtown Tempe, Arizona State University and Sun Devil Stadium. From the 44th and Washington station a shuttle connects passengers with all four terminals at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. An automated train route around the airport that will connect with Metro is under construction.
Riding the route end to end requires about 70 minutes. Downtown Phoenix to downtown Tempe takes 25 minutes. If you’ve ever been jammed on a Phoenix freeway when traffic comes to a crawl you’ll love the Metro option. Fares are $1.25 for one ride or $2.50 for the entire day. Tickets may be purchased at machines in each station. Don’t forget to validate the ticket after purchase before boarding the train. On weekdays trains operate about every 10 minutes from 6am – 7pm, 20 minutes apart other operating hours. On weekends and holidays trains arrive every 15 minutes 6am-7pm, 20 minutes early morning and until 11pm.
During our Phoenix visit the hotel was one block from a Metro station, we used it to avoid traffic and parking at the Heard Museum Indian Fair and to dinner downtown. We found the stations to be clean and well lit with shaded waiting areas. Each station is individualized with public art. At the Osborn/Central station bronze shoe and foot prints traverse the platform, a fun element but not especially outstanding as a work of art. More dramatic and eye-catching sculptures, murals and decorative walls adorn other stations.
It’s a treat to find a city in the Southwest where you can get to cultural, sports, parks, shopping and dining via light rail. Cheers for the option of getting off the road onto light rail in Phoenix.