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Mon, Oct 3, 2011

Route 660 Rural Connector to Make Final Stop Oct. 21

Phoenix, AZ (October 3, 2011) More than five years ago, Route 660, the rural connector route that serves the areas between the cities of Wickenburg and Glendale began providing weekday trips to help get residents to jobs, medical appointments, shopping and social visits. The route, which was intended to serve as a life line for people having few travel options, will make its final trip on Friday, October 21.

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“We know that there are riders that rely on this service for basic needs, so we are very disheartened to see this service end,” said David Boggs, Valley Metro executive director.

The weak economy has resulted in lower sales tax revenues, a major funding source for transit. As a result, transit service has been reduced in 2011 and is anticipated for reduction in 2012.  The Route 660 rural connector route receives half of its operating funds from the countywide half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2004 and the other half from a grant through the Federal Transit Administration.

With low ridership and increased need for these funds on other services, the funding is no longer available to support this route.  As a result, Route 660 will discontinue service effective October 24, 2011.

“It’s been our pleasure to provide the Route 660 rural connector service and we appreciate the public’s support that we’ve encountered since the route began serving the northwest Valley communities,” said Boggs. “We hope that people will continue to seek out Valley Metro for carpool and vanpool options or to plan bus and light rail trips in the metro Phoenix area.”

Despite ongoing marketing efforts, average ridership for Route 660 is less than three passengers per trip resulting in an operations cost of about $54.72 each.  Fares typically cover about 25 percent of the cost of operations, however, fares collected from Route 660 covered an average of 4.58 percent operations’ costs.

For online transit trip planning or carpool matching assistance, go to www.ValleyMetro.org or call (602) 253-5000.

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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