Massive transit cuts set to impact Valley commuters - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Massive transit cuts set to impact Valley commuters

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Posted: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 2:40 pm | Updated: 9:37 pm, Thu Jul 29, 2010.

Transit users will find the deepest transit rollbacks in Valley history on Monday, when 27 routes will be cut back or cut entirely.

The cost-cutting move includes changing how often light-rail trains run in peak hours.

Metro trains will run the same hours as they do now, but commuters will have to wait a bit longer.

“The area that’s going to require more planning on the customer’s part is for the people who commute in the morning,” Metro spokeswoman Hillary Foose said.

The trains will run every 12 minutes instead of every 10 minutes during the peak period. Plus, the peak period is getting shorter, staring at 7:30 a.m. instead of 6 a.m. It will end at 6:30 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. Outside of that, trains run every 20 minutes.

Metro had considered other cuts to save money, such as eliminating late-night service on weekends.

“Based upon public input, there are so many people who enjoy the late-night service or what it meant to economic development in the region, they wanted it to stay,” Foose said. “So it is staying.”

But bus service cuts include reducing hours on some routes. Some buses also will run less often, on weekdays only or will have shorter routes to save money.

The East Valley will lose one line, Route 536, an express bus from northeast Mesa to downtown Tempe.

The bus changes could prove more difficult to navigate than those in the past, as transit authorities aren’t issuing a new transit book at the same time. Instead, a supplemental book will feature only the changes. A new book likely will come out in January, said Valley Metro spokeswoman Susan Tierney.

Valley Metro has plastered signs in buses to let commuters know about changes. Passengers seem to know what’s coming, she said.

“We feel like the information is out there and there has been notification, so people are prepared,” she said.

SERVICE CHANGES

East Valley transit service changes taking effect Monday

• Route 40, Apache/Main — Service to Sky Harbor Airport has been eliminated and route will end at Tempe Transportation Center. Service in Tempe before 5 a.m. and Sunday service after 10 p.m. has been eliminated.

• Route 48, 48th Street — Schedule adjustments. Service before 5 a.m. has been eliminated. After 10 p.m., buses will not service the Arizona Mills bus stop. Buses will stop at Priest Drive and Baseline Road for passenger transfers.

• Route 52, Roeser — Frequency has changed to 60 minutes on weekends.

• Route 56, Priest Drive — Schedule adjustments. After 10 p.m., buses will not service the Arizona Mills bus stop. Buses will stop at Priest Drive and Baseline Road for passenger transfers.

• Route 61, Southern — Sunday service in Mesa has changed to 60 minutes. Weekday service before 5 a.m. and Sunday service in Tempe after 10 p.m. has been eliminated.

• Route 62, Hardy/Guadalupe — First weekday and Saturday southbound trips have been eliminated before 5 a.m. The last Saturday northbound trip at 12:32 a.m. has been eliminated.

• Route 66, Mill/Kyrene — South extension now serves Lone Butte Casino. Service north of McKellips Road has been eliminated.

• Route 72, Scottsdale/Rural — All trips have been extended to Thompson Peak Parkway. Frequency has changed to 20 minutes. Some service in Chandler has been eliminated: weekdays before 5:45 a.m. and after 10 p.m.; Saturday before 8 a.m. and after 10 p.m.; Sunday before 8 a.m. and after 7 p.m.

• Route 76, Miller — South portion of route has been restructured and will now end at McKellips Road.

• Route 77, Baseline — Schedule adjustments. Service in Tempe before 5 a.m. has been eliminated. After 10 p.m., buses will not service the Arizona Mills bus stop. Buses will stop at Priest Drive and Baseline Road for passenger transfers.

• Route 81, Hayden/McClintock — Service in Tempe before 5 a.m. has been eliminated. Every other weekday peak northbound trip will turn around at 90th Street and Shea Boulevard. Frequency has been increased to 30 minutes all day in Chandler.

• Route 96, Dobson — Service in Chandler has changed: Weekday peak service has been reduced to 30 minutes; Weekday service after 10 p.m. has been eliminated; Saturday service before 8 a.m. and after 10 p.m. has been eliminated. Sunday service before 8 a.m. and after 7 p.m. has been eliminated. Weekend service now ends at Chandler Regional Hospital.

• Route 108, Elliot Road — Schedule adjustments. After 10 p.m., buses will not service the Arizona Mills Mall bus stop. Buses will stop at Priest Drive and Baseline Road for passenger transfers.

• Route 122, Cactus — The portion south of Metrocenter has been eliminated and will no longer travel on 3. Gilbert Road. Service to Chandler Gilbert Community College has moved to Gilbert Road. Service now extends south to Crossroads Shopping Center. In Chandler, weekday service before 5:45 a.m. has been eliminated. Earlier northbound trips available at Gilbert Road and Chandler Boulevard as early as 4:24 a.m. In Chandler and Mesa, Saturday service before 8 a.m. has been eliminated.

• Route 156, Chandler Boulevard/Williams Field Road — Service to Chandler Fashion Center moved from Frye Road to Chandler Boulevard and service to Chandler Gilbert Community College has been eliminated. Service on Saturday before 7 a.m. and after 10 p.m. has been eliminated; Service on Sunday before 7 a.m. and after 8 p.m. has been eliminated.

EXPRESS AND RAPID ROUTES

• Route 511, Tempe/Scottsdale Airpark Express — The portion of the route south of the park-and-ride lot at Apache Boulevard has been eliminated.

• Route 535, Northeast Mesa/Downtown Express — Trips that began at Power Road and McDowell Road will now begin at the East Mesa Service Center park-and-ride at the Decatur Sreet and Power Road.

• Route 536, Northeast Mesa/Tempe/ASU — This route has been eliminated.

• Route 540, Chandler Express — Route now begins at Dobson and Ray roads.

• Route 542, Chandler Express — One inbound trip and one outbound trip have been added.

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