Phoenix is the state capital of Arizona and is known for its sprawling metropolitan area. It covers over 14,600 square miles and is therefore known for being car-centric. Despite this, a growing need for alternatives to cars has become the leading factor behind public transportation growth.

Phoenix, Arizona, has good public transportation options. While this can differ depending on the area, many resources have been invested in supporting the growing reliance on public transportation in the city. Knowing how to use these options is the key to a good experience.

If you are a Phoenix resident or someone seeking to visit it, read on below to find out more about how to navigate the city’s public transportation.

Does Phoenix, Arizona Have Good Public Transportation?

Phoenix has strong public transportation. The City of Phoenix Public Transit Department has been investing resources in constantly improving the available options. Phoenix is currently the largest Valley Metro regional transit system member and has the best opportunities.

The Valley Metro Rail and the Valley Metro Bus are the best options for Phoenix public transportation. These are good and reliable systems that are known for facilitating how Phoenix residents and visitors get around the city.

How to Get Around Phoenix with Public Transportation

While Phoenix offers good public transportation, it is best to know more about the available options to know how to navigate them. The best options for getting around Phoenix with public transportation are the Valley Metro Rail and the Valley Metro Bus.

Using the Valley Metro Rail

The Valley Metro Rail covers around 26 miles and is a great connection to Tempe and Mesa. Known locally as the light rail, it also gives quick access to the Sky Harbor International Airport.

The Valley Metro Rail system is planned to expand into West and South Phoenix and even further north in the future. For now, users have access to 38 stations, 11 of which are park-and-ride. There is a convenient trip planner for those looking to schedule their use.

Here are a few more details about the Valley Metro Rail system:

  • Fares: A ticket for one ride is $2. This does not extend to transfers. There is a $4 all-day pass, a 7-day pass for $20, and a 15-day pass for $33.
  • Hours: The Valley Metro Rail runs every day of the week. It starts at 5 AM and ends at 11 PM on weekdays and 2 AM on Fridays and Saturdays. Peak hours are between 7:30 AM and 6:30 PM when the light rail runs every 12 minutes. During off-peak hours, it runs every 20 minutes.
  • Accessibility: The trains and platforms on the Valley Metro Rail system are all designed to be accessible, with designated seating and audible/visual announcements available.

Using the Valley Metro Bus

The Valley Metro system also covers all bus options in the area, including express and RAPID services. The whole regional transit area extends over 513 square miles, which keeps great connections with the more rural areas.

This is an excellent option for those seeking quick and reliable access to Downtown Phoenix, Tempe, and Scottsdale. Here are some details about what this system entails:

  • Fares: Local buses are $2 for a single ride and $4 for an all-day pass. Express or RAPID options are $3.25 for a single ride and $6.50 for an all-day pass. Neighborhood circulars other than the Avondale ZOOM are free.
  • Hours: Local bus routes tend to run from 5 AM until midnight. To plan a precise trip, use the handy trip planner to see all possible times for all the included services.
  • Service Alerts: All service alerts are constantly updated on the Valley Metro website. Users of the system can also access alerts as they happen via text or phone call at (602) 253-5000.

Tickets and passes for every service under the Valley Metro system can be purchased online, at fare machines, transit centers, and various retailers. Single rides can also be paid for on bus fare boxes.

General Tips for Phoenix Public Transportation

While navigating public transportation in Phoenix is a straightforward affair, there are some tips that can make the experience even smoother:

  • Downtown Phoenix has the best public transportation options.
  • The light rail is the best for inner city attractions, while the bus is more suitable for exploring the metropolitan area.
  • Bear in mind that Phoenix is a grid city, making navigating it easier.
  • Use the park-and-ride stops and the Valley Metro Rail system if attending any sports events or other specific entertainment options. Parking in the city can be a struggle at normal times, and this system makes the whole experience easier.
  • If you are staying at one of the many resorts in the Valley of the Sun, depending on public transportation might not be a reliable option. In this case, renting a car may be a better strategy.


Phoenix, Arizona, has good public transportation, especially for those living in or visiting Downtown Phoenix. The Valley Metro system covers the light rail and bus options and is seeking to expand into newer areas soon.