Valley Metro's first modern streetcar energizes Tempe and the region | Valley Metro
Map of the streetcar

It’s been about three months since the opening of modern streetcar, just one of many projects and expansions Valley Metro is checking off its to-do list. Construction for the streetcar began in 2018 and the first day of service began May 20, 2022. The opening event featured a ribbon-cutting ceremony and an appearance by local leaders and elected officials who spoke about this historical moment. 

This project was made possible with the assistance of federal grants, Proposition 400, and local public-private partnerships. The new addition is planned to be a supportive benefit for downtown Tempe neighborhoods and businesses. Creating a quick connection to light rail, neighborhood circulators, and local bus routes. 

The streetcar route is three miles with 14 stops across downtown Tempe. It runs from Dorsey and Apache Blvd with loops on Mill and Ash and ends at Rio Salado Pkwy from Marina Heights. Riding along the route, you’ll see the ASU Tempe campus, downtown Tempe, Mill Avenue, Tempe Beach Park, and more. 

Streetcar has a frequency of 15-20 minutes between stops and two transfer connections with light rail. It’s also ADA and bike-friendly.   

There are a few key differences between the new streetcar and Valley Metro’s light rail system.  Streetcar uses a vehicle smaller than a light rail and it shares and travels on the same road with other motorists. And streetcars run individually in a single unit and are not linked together. It is also a hybrid car. It has the capability to operate off wire using battery power.  

The new streetcar provides a smooth transfer connection to the other transit options in the area, such as neighborhood circulators, local bus routes, and light rail.  

Before streetcar service kicked in, I had the chance to ride it during the testing phase and learn the route with my good pal, Christina Braggs, also an operations communications specialist. It was a bit of a preview to help support our daily role in communicating with riders.  We deboarded at every stop to inspect the area, and I was amazed that each stop gave a feeling of a slightly different vicinity. Even though it’s only a 3-mile distance from beginning to end, it never felt too far away from anything.  

For instance, I hopped on the streetcar near a residential area at Dorsey Ln, and within a few minutes, I was by all the shops and entertainment center on Mill Avenue. It is super convenient for a local resident or anyone, in fact. Whether you’re heading to work, out of town, a student, or curious to ride and see what it’s about, the streetcar will take you there.   

View  the event at: Valley Metro Streetcar service begins today!


Viviana Penaloza
Viviana Penaloza
This pet-lover, Viviana, is a first-generation immigrant from Michoacán, Mexico. She enjoys supporting small businesses, traveling and spending time at home with her furry friends.