Q&AZ: Why Can't Valley Metro Riders Use A Light Rail Ticket To Switch To Bus?

By Claire Caulfield
Published: Monday, August 27, 2018 - 8:48am
Updated: Wednesday, June 10, 2020 - 11:39am

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 light rail station
Paul Atkinson/KJZZ
Riders board the Valley Metro light rail at a station.

Phoenix’s public transit is a little different than other major cities because you cannot buy a one-way ticket that covers both a bus and light rail ride.

A KJZZ listener was wondering why they couldn’t use a light rail ticket to switch to the bus and complete their trip. They asked KJZZ via Q&AZ why the dual option was available for day passes, but not one-way trips.

Valley Metro said that buying a ticket based on destination - and having that cover all forms of transportation needed to get you to said destination - doesn’t make sense for a city like Phoenix, which is so sprawling.

Spokeswomen Susan Tierney encouraged riders to buy a single all-day pass. Tierney says this is more convenient for riders who will probably be taking multiple bus and light rail rides as they navigate the valley.

“The point behind a one day fare is that you have a lot of flexibility and then you don’t have to take the time to buy a fare somewhere else because you've already purchased it for the entire day,” she said.

If you’re taking a single trip using the light rail and the bus, the $4 all-day pass is expensive compared to one-ways in other major metro areas.

one-way trip chart
Claire Caulfield/KJZZ

However if you’re looking at the price for unlimited rides, Phoenix is one of the most affordable compared to other major metro areas.

unlimited trip chart
Claire Caulfield/KJZZ