Valley Metro to expand service, bring back front-door boarding

By Ayana Hamilton
Published: Tuesday, October 5, 2021 - 1:27pm
Updated: Tuesday, October 5, 2021 - 3:46pm

A Valley Metro bus in Phoenix
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
A Valley Metro bus in Phoenix on April 18, 2020.

Valley Metro passengers will be able to board through the front door again next week and expanded bus service will also begin ramping up later this month.

In March 2020, riders began using the rear door to enter and exit buses to increase social distancing.

Valley Metro spokesperson Brittany Hoffman says front-door boarding will resume Oct. 11 because additional safety measures are now in place for drivers.

“The reason we are returning to front-door boarding is because all of our busses have now been installed with an operator barrier door. These doors started to get installed  as soon as we knew that this is an airborne virus," said Hoffman.

Passengers should have fare ready and continue to wear masks on the bus, as required by federal law.

Valley Metro will be expanding bus service beginning Oct. 25 to meet rising demand as more workers return to the office.

The pandemic brought a sharp decline in ridership, as many Valley residents began working from home. But Hoffman says Valley Metro is optimistic about ridership going back to pre-pandemic levels. 

“With people tele-working, there’s a lot less people going into the office. That was probably our biggest dip in the beginning of the pandemic was our express and rapid trip. Which are typically taken from different suburbs and heading to Downtown Phoenix. We saw a big drop in those numbers," Hoffman said.

Hoffman says the trend is now moving in the other direction, as more people are returning to the office and attending social events. The agency is responding by adding more buses, in part so that riders can continue to socially distance as demand increases.

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