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Thu, Jul 28, 2011

Annual Transit Ridership Released

Phoenix, AZ (July 28, 2011) Ridership on transit remains steady in the Valley, despite fewer miles of transit service last fiscal year (July 1, 2010-June 30, 2011). There were 54.8 million passengers on the Valley Metro bus in 2011, which is down from 55.6 million passengers in 2010. Buses provided about 29 million miles of service last year, or about 10 percent less than the previous year due to the economic downturn. 

“Funding of transit has significantly affected service levels resulting in cuts that have slowed the pace of building a regional transit system,” said David Boggs, Valley Metro executive director. “In spite of today’s economic challenges, we hope to continue to look at ways to deliver transit service more efficiently.”

Although METRO light rail reduced service miles, due to the sales tax revenue decline, by about 18 percent in 2011, the service experienced an increase in ridership.  Light rail ridership continues to climb and exceed expectations with more than 12.8 million passengers in 2011, up from 12.1 million in 2010.

“The increase in ridership is validation that the community continues to see value in the service we provide,” said METRO CEO Steve Banta.  “This momentum serves us well as we work to expand quality transit service to more of the Valley.”

The number of bicycles on buses also continues to expand with 1.5 million bikes loaded in 2011, up from 1.4 million in 2010. Bicycles are considered a popular way to extend a transit trip.

To capture new riders, Valley Metro released the first of eight Notes informational videos in November 2010 that have addressed the top concerns received by customer service, such as how to ride the bus or light rail or how to pay a fare. The videos, with music from local bands, have helped make riding transit less intimidating for first-time passengers.

Funding of transit operations is mostly from the revenues collected through local sales taxes dedicated to transit. In March 2010, there was a permanent repeal of Lottery funds by the Arizona state legislature, which provided $23 million annually to towns and cities in Maricopa County to help fund transit operations. Passenger fares cover about 25 percent of the cost to ride.

Ridership reports on bus and light rail are available at

Valley Metro RPTA provides eco-friendly public transit options to residents of greater Phoenix and Maricopa County, including a clean-fuel bus fleet, low-emissions light rail, a bio-diesel Dial-a-Ride fleet, online carpool matching and bus trip mapping, bicycle safety and telework assistance. Funding is provided by local and federal revenues. A board of 16 governments sets the policy direction for the agency and works to improve and regionalize the public transit system.

All service and projects funded by the Proposition 400 Regional Transportation Plan funds approved by Maricopa County voters in November 2004.# # #

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