Public Transportation in Phoenix

A Valley Metro NABI bus operates down 12th Street in Phoenix, Arizona.
Christopher MacKechnie

The number of people riding the public transit system in the Phoenix area continues to grow. It isn't just because the population is still growing. As the price of gasoline continues to be a significant factor in the budget, and as the quality of valley air impacts the quality of life, people are changing their transportation habits. That means they are using more public transportation.

Valley Metro is the name of the regional transit system in the Phoenix metropolitan area. It is comprised of:

  • Local, Express and RAPID commuter bus service
  • Neighborhood circulators
  • Dial-a-Ride
  • Vanpool service
  • Online carpool matching system
  • Assistance to local businesses to help them meet the Maricopa County trip reduction goals
  • Valley Metro Rail

You can use the Valley Metro Bus Book to plan your routes. If you want to plan a specific trip, the online Trip Planner might be the most efficient way for you to accomplish that. They also print Bus Books. You can usually find them at libraries and some grocery stores, or you can contact Valley Metro and order one. They are like small phone books, so you probably don't want to carry it around with you. There's a handy pullout map with all the bus routes.

Phoenix Bus Cost

The local bus fare is $2 per ride. An all-day pass is twice that amount, $4. If you don't buy your all-day pass in advance, it's an extra $2 to purchase it on the bus. Express buses have a higher fare. Check out the rate schedule for all of the fare details. Valley Metro has been adding many retail outlets for passes so that consumers can purchase them more conveniently at the lower price. 

If you ride the bus regularly, or you need to take more than one bus to get to your destination, you'll probably find that one of the following passes is the most economical:

All Day Pass: Can be used all day, from bus to bus or from bus to rail and back again. These work best if you typically don't ride the bus, but you will be doing so one or two days per month for special trips.

7, 15, and 31 Day Local Passes: Your multiple-day local pass will be valid for 7, 15, or 31 consecutive days after activation. They are activated on first use, not when you buy them. The 7-day passes are great for your visiting relatives, or if you are attending a class just this week, or your car will be in the shop for a few days.

How to Buy Bus Tickets and Passes

You can:

  • Purchase your fare online
  • Purchase your fare at transit centers or retail locations
  • Purchase your fare on the bus. The fare box accepts exact change per individual in $1, $2, and $5 bills and U.S. coins (except 50 cent pieces).

There are no tickets, tokens, or transfers on transit systems. Bus drivers can't make change.

Special Fares

Children under 6 are not charged a fare for local or express bus service when accompanied by a fare-paying adult. There are also special fares for people ages 6 to 18 years old, ASU students, homeless people, seniors (over 65), people with disabilities and a few other groups.

Children who are Tempe residents may ride Valley Metro public transportation for free with a special pass. You can check online how the Tempe Youth Free Transit Pass works.

Call 5-1-1 for Transit Information

Arizona has a 5-1-1 system in place to provide our residents with detailed information about the roads, public transit, airports, parks, and tourism. Many people think of using 5-1-1 when they are driving to find out about road closures. Arizona's 5-1-1 system also provides information to people using public transportation. Just dial 5-1-1 on almost any phone in Arizona and you can access the system. It is a local call. You'll hear the menu for all the system options.

Voice Mode for Phoenix Transit Information
Say "Transit"
Say "Valley Metro"
You then have four choices: Bus, Dial-a-Ride, Ride Share, Light Rail

At any time that you want to leave voice mode, you can press * and enter touch tone mode.

Touch Tone Mode for Phoenix Transit Information
Press *
Then 2, then 1

You'll hear about any transit routes that experiencing delays or problems. You may be automatically transferred to Valley Metro's Customer Service Department during their regular business hours by pressing the # key.

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