Fare FAQs | Valley Metro

Have a question about our fares? We’re here to help! Scroll down for more information on everything from fare facts to how to use any of our payment systems.

Fare is expected on all Valley Metro services. For more information on adjustments due to COVID-19 visit valleymetro.org/covid-19.

Validation & Proof of Payment

Do I have to show proof of payment on Valley Metro Rail?

Yes. Riding light rail without valid fare may end up getting you a citation ranging from $50-$500. To avoid this, all riders must possess valid fare while in the station fare zone and on board.

What if I just have 1-Ride fare?

1-Ride fare holders should take note that not all validations are the same. This fare is automatically validated when purchased and gets you a single ride on the light rail. A 1-Ride purchase at the bus farebox is only good for that bus trip.

Does my 1-Ride fare work on both bus and light rail?

1-Ride fares purchased at a bus farebox are not valid on the light rail system and a 1-Ride fare purchased at the fare vending machine is not valid on the bus. However, a 1-Day pass is valid on both bus and rail.

How do I validate my Platinum Pass or ASU U-Pass?

Valley Metro makes validation easy for Platinum Pass and ASU U-Pass holders with our touch-and-go option. Fare vending machines or stand-alone validation devices at stations have orange pads that riders can place their passes on. Just hold the card flat against the orange pad until it dings or you see the friendly “Enjoy Your Ride” message on-screen!


How do I activate my pass?

Activating your pass is easy! If you are going to use the pass that day, choose the “activate” option when purchasing at the fare vending machine. To activate your pass later, insert it into the “validator” slot after following instruction on the screen. When purchasing on-board the bus, your pass is automatically validated. 

Keep in mind all passes expire at 2:59 a.m. the day after the end of the purchased time period.

1-Day and Multi-Day Passes

Does Valley Metro offer multiple day passes?

Absolutely! Valley Metro offers passes meant to fit your commuting needs. Riders can choose between 1-Day, 7-Day, 15-Day and 31-Day passes.

Do I have to activate my multi-day pass?

All passes are created the same and must be validated before use. Once your 7-Day, 15-Day or 31-Day pass is validated, you’re able to ride freely through your purchased time period. Note that each time you board the bus, your pass must be dipped or swiped at the farebox. 

Respect the Ride: A Note on Fare Compliance

As much as we, at Valley Metro, like to be at the forefront of transit progress, we are simply following the example of other great cities in North America when it comes to fare compliance. Cities like San Diego, Houston, St. Louis and Portland—all with renowned public transit systems—have been ensuring integrity among their light rail riders for the last 20 years and the metro Phoenix area aims to be no different. We ask all passengers to Respect the Ride and have valid fare ready when at a station platform, riding light rail or boarding the bus.

Fare Vending Machines

Easy to use, our vending machines offer a step-by-step on-screen process to purchase bus and light rail passes. All vending machines—which are found at every light rail platform—take American Express, Discover, Mastercard, Visa and debit cards so you can stay on the go!

How To Use

  • Push any button to activate screen. Choose full fare or reduced fare or Express/RAPID bus. Reduced fares are available to youth ages 6 through 18, seniors ages 65 or older, people with disabilities or Medicare cardholders. You must have valid proof of eligibility to use reduced fares.
  • Select the fare type: 1-Ride*, 1-Day, 7-Day, 15-Day or 31-Day.
  • Select the number of passes you wish to buy. There is a maximum quantity of five passes per transaction.
  • Choose to activate now (if you’re planning to ride immediately) or wait to activate to use at a later date. The 1-Ride fare is automatically activated upon purchase.
  • To pay, insert cash or coins or select credit or debit card. Due to limited space, fare vending machines accept a total of 20 coins and 15 bills during a single transaction.  If the customer exceeds the coin and/or bill limit, the machine will cancel the transaction and return the coins/bills to the customer.
  • Remove your passes and remember to grab your change and receipt.

Vending machine acting up? Help us out by reporting vending machine malfunctions by calling (602) 253-5000. Please note the location of the machine and time of the transaction.
*Valid only on light rail.

Helpful Hints

  • Fare vending machines are located at each light rail station.
  • Fares purchased and activated from the vending machines (except for the 1-Ride fare) are valid for bus and light rail use. 1-Ride fare allows you to ride once on light rail; be sure to keep your receipt as proof of payment.
  • A 1-Ride fare purchased at a fare vending machine is good only for light rail; keep your receipt because it is your proof of payment.
  • To purchase a 1-Ride fare for the bus, simply pay cash at the bus farebox.

Purchasing at the Farebox

Bus riders can save time by using these easy tips when purchasing fares at one of our fareboxes.

  • Only going one way? A 1-Ride fare is always available. 
  • Have your transit pass in hand or be ready with exact change to speed up the process for yourself and those waiting to board. All forms of U.S. coins (except 50-cent pieces) and $1, $2 and $5 bills are accepted.
  • 1-Day passes are automatically activated when purchased at the farebox and can be used however many times the rider wants to in a single day. 
  • Multi-Day and 1-Day fares are perfect for those planning a day trip across the Metro Phoenix area or hopping from light rail to bus. Just make sure you swipe the pass through the designated slot when riding the bus to validate.
  • As noted above, Platinum Pass and ASU U-Pass holders must place their pass on the orange sensor at fareboxes and vending machines for validation.
  • If using a local pass on an Express or RAPID bus, you must simply pay the difference for the upgrade in cash at the farebox. Swipe your pass through the designated slot.

Fare Facts

Cash Fares

Valley Metro bus fareboxes accept all U.S. coins (except 50-cent coins) and $1, $2 and $5 bills in good condition. Please have exact fare ready as the bus operators and fareboxes do not provide change. A 1-Day pass can be purchased to transfer between routes or for multiple same-day trips.

Note: It is not possible to pay for more than one rider using the same bill.

Youth Fares

Any child, age 5 and under, gets to ride with Valley Metro for free when accompanied by a fare-paying caretaker or guardian. Riders age 6 through 18 qualify for reduced fares.

Reduced Fares

Reduced fares on local routes (excluding Express and RAPID) and light rail are available to youth age 6 through 18, seniors age 65 or older, people with disabilities or Medicare cardholders. Must have valid proof of eligibility to use reduced fares. View more information on Reduced Fares.

1-Ride Fare for Light Rail

A 1-Ride fare purchased at a light rail fare vending machine is good for light rail only and serves as your proof of payment.

The 1-Ride fare receipt is valid for two hours and only for use in one travel direction. Customers using the receipt more than one trip or after it has expired can be issued a citation.

1-Ride Fare for Bus

A 1-Ride fare for the bus is available only on the bus by paying cash at the farebox. For the best value, purchase a 1-Day pass for multiple same-day trips or if your trip requires changing routes.

1-Day Pass

Purchase a 1-Day transit pass from participating retail locations, transit centers and fare vending machines at light rail stations before boarding bus or light rail. Once activated, the passes are good until 2:59 a.m. the next day.

Multiple-Day Passes

Your multiple-day transit pass is valid for 7, 15 or 31 consecutive days after activation. The passes become activated when they are used for the first time and are available for purchase from participating retail locations, transit centers and light rail station fare vending machines.

Semester Passes

Purchase semester transit passes at participating colleges and universities.

ASU Student U-Pass

Purchase through ASU Parking and Transit Services.

Platinum Pass

Available through participating employers only.

Tempe Youth Pass

Free for youth (age 6-18) who live in Tempe. Can be obtained by visiting the Tempe Transit Store with parent/guardian and proof of eligibility.

Refunds or Replacements

Valley Metro will not offer refunds or replacements for the following: 

  • Loss of service

  • Lost, stolen, damaged or unused fares

  • Altering or defacing the pass in any way

  • Accidental purchase of the wrong fare media from fare vending machines or fare outlets

  • Accidental activation of fares at fare vending machines 

  • Passes or 1-Ride receipts left at fare vending machines 

  • Passes that read error but have a date printed on the front of the pass