Providing Public Transportation
Alternatives for the Greater
Phoenix Metro Area

Milestones

January 2014
Rail welding begins on the Central Mesa light rail extension.

December 2013
Valley Metro teams up with Coors Light to Freeze the Keys on New Year’s Eve. All bus and light rail rides are free to riders in an effort to encourage safe celebrations.

On Saturday, Dec. 7, light rail reaches a historic ridership record with 65,773 boardings! An average Saturday ridership in December 2012 was 33,964 boardings. It is highest ridership day since light rail began operating in December 2008. Previous ridership record was on Thursday, October 18, 2012 serving an ASU football game with 65,088 boardings

November 2013
The Gilbert Road light rail extension receives the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) allowing the project to move forward.

September 2013
Valley Metro teams up with Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development to designate all light rails stations as a Safe Place for youth in crisis.

On September 26, Valley Metro receives an award for the LINK Real Time Bus Tracking and Passenger Information project as the 2013 Best ITS implementation project.

April 2013
The METRO Max program kicks off in Northwest Phoenix with the first Shop to Win Night on April 26. Shoppers are encouraged to make local purchases for a chance to win several raffle prizes.
January 2013

The Valley Metro Board approves a unified bus contract for fixed route bus operations in Mesa and Tempe. First Transit is selected as the contractor.

Valley Metro begins construction on the Northwest Phoenix light rail extension and breaks ground with community celebration on January 12.

October 2012
October ridership breaks and all-time record with 7,080,564 monthly boardings.

The Federal Transit Administration announces it will provide $75 million to help fund Valley Metro’s Central Mesa light rail extension.

September 2012
The Northwest Phoenix light rail extension receives approval to accelerate the completion date from 2023 to 2016.

July 2012
Valley Metro Rail receives regional approval on the route and transit mode for the Capitol / I-10 extension, the first freeway corridor project that will travel from the State Capitol area to the West Valley.

Construction begins on the Central Mesa light rail extension.

Phoenix begins service on a new RAPID ™ Central/South Mountain route serving south and southwest areas of Phoenix.

The ZOOM circulator bus in Avondale expands service into Tolleson. 

April 2012
The METRO Max Rewards program is launched in Central Mesa to help support businesses impacted by light rail construction.

October 2011
METRO experiences its highest ridership month on record serving more than 1.25 million riders, resulting in an average of 45,000 daily.

City of Phoenix / METRO receives a $1 million federal grant to conduct an Alternatives Analysis on the South Central Phoenix corridor. 

September 2011
Tempe Streetcar completes the project definition phase – which includes definition of the stop locations and street configurations – with approval by the Tempe City Council.

July 2011
METRO serves the Major League Baseball All-Star game with five, full All-Star train wraps and extra service capacity.  Across the five days, METRO serves nearly 200,000 riders; 51,000+ on game day. Typical daily ridership in July is 29,000.

METRO transitions to a Design-Build approach with the Central Mesa light rail extension. 

March 2011
METRO adds a 123-space park-and-ride to serve the 7th Avenue/Camelback station. In addition, installed shade canopies at this new lot and existing lots at 19th Avenue and Central/Camelback.

METRO initiates study on the 1.9-mile future phase of the Central Mesa light rail extension to Gilbert Road.  The study will conduct project definition determining where potential station locations and street configuration will be identified.

December 2010
METRO receives local and regional approval of 2.6-miles of streetcar in the Mill Avenue corridor in Tempe and moved forward with the South Central Feasibility Study in Phoenix.

METRO implemented enhanced safety and security programs; reducing the number of collisions in 2010 by 52 percent versus 2009.

October 2010
Hand Held Verifiers (HHV’s) are deployed to better identify fare violators and track fares across the rail corridor.

August 2010
METRO enters the design phase on the Central Mesa light rail extension to downtown Mesa; project received medium high rating from Federal Transit Administration.

June 2010
METRO launches the METRO Max Rewards program that provides riders with incentives – discounts and special offers/events – to visit the amazing array of businesses along the line.  It is a free program for businesses and riders. Visit www.metrolightrail.org/metromax for more details.

May 2010
METRO and US Airways Center renew the “Rail Ride Event” program for five additional years. The program allows consumers who purchase a ticket to any event at US Airways Center to ride METRO light rail at no additional cost, on the day of the event.

April 2010
METRO achieves its highest ridership month and days on record, serving 1.2 million riders and as many as 55,000 in one day.

February 2010
METRO’s first full train wrap, as part of the system advertising program, is sold to Grand Canyon University.

December 2009
METRO Board of Directors hires and completes a five-year employment agreement with Stephen R. Banta as the new METRO CEO; he began on Jan. 20, 2010.  Banta replaces Rick Simonetta who served as METRO’s first CEO for six years.

October 2009
METRO enters into an agreement with CBS Outdoor, Inc. to serve as administrator of METRO’s system advertising program, which allows for vehicle wraps, vehicle floor decals and station advertising.

September 2009
METRO enters into an agreement with US Airways Center/the Phoenix Suns to pilot a program that integrates light rail and event ridership.  US Airways event tickets serve as valid light rail fare four hours prior to the event through the end of the transit day.  The first “Rail Ride Event” was Game 2 of the WNBA Finals with the Phoenix Mercury vs. Indiana Fever on Oct. 1.

August 2009
City of Phoenix receives $3.9 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for METRO light rail improvements, including expansion of the Central/Camelback park-and-ride by 200 additional spaces and installation of 430 shade canopies at METRO park-and-rides in Phoenix.

July 2009
A regional fare increase occurs affecting all Valley transit services.  The base fare of $1.25 increases .50 to $1.75.  A base-fare increase has not occurred in the Valley since 1994.

June 2009
METRO average weekday ridership in the first six months of operation is 30 percent greater than the original projection.  Saturday and Sunday/holiday service are even higher at 41 percent and 85 percent respectively.

METRO Board of Directors approves the Central Mesa Locally Preferred Alternative as light rail on Main Street to Mesa Drive.  The extension is scheduled for completion in 2016.

May 2009
METRO Board of Directors approves a measure to extend service hours on weekend nights until past 2 a.m.  Extended weekend service began July 1, 2009.

April 2009
METRO achieves its first one-millionth ridership month with 1.044 million boardings and an average weekday ridership of 37,386.

February 2009
METRO extends service hours and wraps four vehicles and two stations for NBA All-Star events, Feb. 13 – 15.

January 2009
Revenue service begins Jan. 1 after five free-ride days achieving nearly 500,000 riders.

December 2008
Final assembly and safety certification of last car, car #150.

The 20-mile METRO starter line opens for service on Dec. 27. More than 200,000 people ride the system during the two-day grand opening Dec. 27-28.

November 2008
Vehicle testing occurs across all 20 miles.

The Northwest Extension completes 95% design review with the stakeholders along the route.

September 2008
First class of METRO vehicle operators begin training.

April 2008
Completion of final guideway concrete pour creating 20 miles of continuous track.


View the Milestone Archive at the top of the page for METRO history prior to 2008.