Scottsdale riders no longer have to wait up to an hour on weekends for the next bus on Route 81, which runs along Hayden and McClintock roads. Frequency on the route has been increased to every 30 minutes from Tempe Marketplace to Northsight Boulevard.
Route 81 already had 30-minute frequency in Tempe, but once the route entered Scottsdale, it shifted to 60-minute frequency.
“That was a big disconnect for many people,” said Ratna Korepella, transit manager with the city of Scottsdale. “It was very inconvenient.”
Korepella, who serves on the Regional Transit Advisory Group, advocated for the change in Scottsdale in response to public feedback.
“Folks wanted at least the same level of weekend service as Route 72, the other north–south bus in Scottsdale that runs along Scottsdale Road,” said Korepella.
Route 72 still has 60-minute frequency on Sundays, but Korepella is advocating to have it increased to 30 minutes as funds become available.
The route 81 frequency change is one of a suite of service enhancementsimplemented on Oct. 24 by Valley Metro. The enhancements are part of a five-year plan to improve Valley public transportation, including having all regionally operated bus service meet minimum transit service standards.
“There are certain expectations riders have with local and express bus routes,” said Korepella, “When we make service changes, we try to match those expectations. It’s good for the whole valley transit system.”
The route 81 service increase is primarily funded by Proposition 400, the half-cent transportation sales tax in Maricopa County that was first approved by voters in 1985 and then extended in 2005 for another 20 years. Other sources includes state and federal transportation funds.
Korepella expects the expanded service will result in increased ridership on the route, but said it often takes time for the public to discover the new convenience.
“It usually takes one to three years for routes to reach their full potential,” said Korepella.
Several additional service changes that affect Scottsdale transit went into effect on Oct. 24:
- Route 50 (Camelback Road): The east end of route 50 has been modified to travel on Scottsdale Road and Drinkwater Boulevard to provide direct service to Scottsdale Galleria.
- Route 72 (Scottsdale Road): Frequency between Scottsdale Park and Ride and the Tempe Transit Center has been increased to 10 minutes or less during the peak hours of 6 a.m. to 7:20 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 5:20 p.m.
- Route 170 (Bell Road): Route 170 has been modified to travel on Northsight Boulevard between Hayden Road and Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard. Please note that the route is currently detoured onto Hayden Road while new bus stops are installed on Northsight Boulevard.
- Miller Road Trolley: Weekend frequency has been increased from 60 minutes to 30 minutes.
- Camelback Trolley: Weekend frequency has been decreased from 15 minutes to 30 minutes.
Another round of transit service improvements is planned for April 2017. Input can be provided with an online comment card.