Tempe Streetcars should be accessible by the end of 2021

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A new streetcar line is close to being up and operational in Tempe. Testing is currently being conducted along the planned route through much of the city’s downtown area. We learned more from Valley Metro’s Madeline Phipps.

“Tempe residents and visitors who have been out and about recently may have actually already seen some of the streetcar vehicles, and they were just out for the first time last week conducting some systems testing. So that’ll be the case for the next several months before we can open for operations we have a number of tests we need to complete. So, we have vehicles out on the system kind of sporadically over the next few months so you can expect to see them quite often,” Phipps said.

What is the difference between the light rail versus the new streetcar?

“One major difference between the streetcar and the light rail is the tracks are actually in the roadway with drivers in Tempe, so you may be driving along and you could have a streetcar in-front-of or behind you,” Phipps said.

Where will this streetcar travel?

It goes within a 3-mile route and it, “… travels along Apache Boulevard, kind of comes around the Gammage curb, heads north on Mill Avenue, East on Rio Salado, and then heads back west to Ash Avenue, comes back south again,” Phipps said.

It’s important that, “… the system is fully accessible. It has level boarding at all stops and bikes are certainly welcome on board,” Phipps said.

How much will it cost to ride on the streetcar?

“They’ll probably be a period where it’s free just so everyone gets acclimated to the system, learns how to ride and then after you know a certain period of time, we will introduce a fare system. The total cost is still up for debate and kind of with Tempe city council depending on what they determine but it’ll probably be around half the cost of a light rail ticket,” Phipps said.

The Tempe Streetcar should be up and running fully by the end of 2021. For more information on the new mode of transportation and updates on testing, visit “valleymetro.org/tempestreetcar”.

Madeline Phipps, Valley Metro Spokesperson

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