December 17, 2018 – NEW YEAR. NEW GOALS.


CJ Schneider
Program Coordinator
Valley Metro


Right now, you may be hustling through the work day and trying to wrap up projects so you can enjoy some time off to relax and enjoy the holidays. You may be facing a work schedule with no breaks and simply need to move ahead. You may be a student enduring final exams or a stay at home parent whose children who keep you on your toes and want to experience the magic of the season. No matter what the final weeks of this year hold for you, we all have something in common: 2019 is a chance to set and meet new goals.

ShareTheRide.com can help you set and meet many goals. Save money, for example. Register for a free account, create your profile and search for a carpool, vanpool or transit route. Once you have found the right fit, you will immediately see the savings because the cost of gas, vehicle maintenance, insurance and parking will decrease.

You will also save time. When you carpool or vanpool, you are able to use the HOV lane, cutting your travel time in many cases.

How about improving your environmental impact? When you track your alternative mode commutes using the Commuting Cost Calculator at ShareTheRide.com, you will see the greenhouse emission gases prevented. 

Personal goals may include improving your health. Cleaner air certainly contributes to better health, so sign up for free air quality alerts, which include High Pollution Advisories. When you receive a text or email, you’ll know that it is especially important to leave your car in the garage and instead, carpool, vanpool, take transit or telework.

Getting fit is also a popular goal and can be attained and maintained easier with the help of a fitness tracker. Check out these highly-ranked ones when making a buying decision. 

Other personal goals may include getting organized. Yeah, easier said than done when so many of us juggle work, kids, school, pets, homes, etc. How about we start with baby steps? Entrepreneur.com suggests there are seven steps, the SMARTER method, to achieving a goal(s):

1. Get (S)pecific about your goal

2. Ensure your goals are (M)eaningful

3. Pick goals that are (A)chievable

4. The goals must be (R)elevant

5. Make sure the goals are (T)ime-bound

6. (E)valuate your progress

7. (R)e-adjust your approach

We would also like to add that writing down your goals is part of the success.

We have a sharp new blank journal/planner for a lucky participant who simply comments on our Facebook post today that our new blog is live.

Baby steps. Big steps. A giant leap. No matter what your goal(s) are, we wish you a happy, healthy and successful new year. We also hope to assist in reaching those goals with our tools and resources at ShareTheRide.com.

 


December 3, 2018 – ‘TIS THE SEASON!


CJ Schneider
Program Coordinator
Valley Metro 



Is anyone else trying to slow time down, savor the moments with family and friends and enjoy the holidays before they pass us by? One way to make the most of the holiday season is to visit local festive events! And when you consider many are low-cost or free, the stress of spending a lot of money is suddenly lifted off our shoulders.

All aboard the Polar Express! Enjoy a special train ride complete with singing elves, cookies and a visit from Santa. With the success of the event over the years, Polar Express is expanding to Phoenix. Free to attend! 

 

Join Valley Metro to celebrate 10 years of connecting communities and enhancing lives through light rail on Thursday, December 27 at Talking Stick Resort Arena in downtown Phoenix. There will be an art and photography exhibit, music, entertainment, refreshments, giveaways, interactive zones and much more. The Railversary Celebration will serve as the event hub and starting place for the Railversary Ride Experience, a family-friendly event that will take place from 5–10 p.m., featuring a digital scavenger hunt where riders are encouraged to visit local businesses and destinations along the rail through all three cities — Mesa, Tempe and Phoenix.


Celebrate the New Year safely! Valley Metro has partnered with Coors Light and Uber again this year to bring free rides on local buses, light rail and paratransit starting at 7:00 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Uber is offering a discount code CLHOLIDAY18 (valid December 1-January 1 until 10 a.m.) - Get $5 off 2 Uber rides to or from any Valley Metro rail station!

Stepping outside the box and want to experience something different? Our friends at The Thirteenth Floor have graciously donated two General Admission passes to Krampus: A Haunted Christmas. The creators of the Fear Farm are continuing a twisted holiday tradition that is sure to fright and delight holiday revelers looking to reimagine the holiday spirit. Terrifying audiences across the nation, Krampus: A Haunted Christmas will open in Phoenix for two days only – Dec. 7 and 8. This experience is sure to provide a break from carol singing and tree trimming, as the spirit – or the ghouls – of Christmas come to life!

Visit our Facebook page and comment on the December 3 post about this blog, letting us know what your favorite holiday tradition is. One winner will be chosen on Wednesday, December 5 at random and announced on Thursday, December 6.

Need to do some holiday shopping? Valley Metro’s Bus Destination Guide includes shopping malls with transit routes to get there, an affordable way to travel that reduces pollution and traffic congestion!

When buying gifts, consider supporting small business. There are many accessible by transit and offer discounts. Did you know that when you shop along future Valley Metro extensions, you can save with a rewards card? The Shop On Rewards program offers customers exclusive deals when they visit businesses along the Gilbert Road Extension and Tempe Streetcar line during construction. Here are some of the terrific participating businesses:

Arizona Salsa & Spice Co. - Natural chile based rubs, salsa, and hot sauce
909 E Main St. Mesa, AZ 85203
10% off in store or online-use code VALLEYMETRO

Boost Mobile Mega Cellulare - Cell phones and service plans
1437 E Main St Suite 101 Mesa, AZ 85203
Free Car Charger and Water Bottle with purchase of new phone or new activation

La Casita Fashion - Wedding, prom, baptism, communion, formal wear
926 E Main St. Mesa, AZ 85203
10% off any purchase

Sophia’s Floral Designs - Floral shop
606 E Main St #105 Mesa, AZ 85203
10% discount on any arrangement greater than $50.00 value

Escape Zone - Arizona's most immersive Escape Room experience!
414 S. Mill Ave., #112, Tempe, AZ 85281
Mention the VIP ticket special and receive a discounted ticket of $20 per person with your Shop On card. Valid 7 days a week for any of our rooms. Come and play!

Tempe Boat Rentals - Boat rentals on Tempe Town Lake.
72 W. Rio Salado Pkwy., Tempe, AZ 85281
20% off rentals at the Tempe Town Lake location.

Lotions and Potions - Specializes in custom scenting with more than 550 fragrance oils. 
420 S. Mill Ave., #105, Tempe, AZ 85281
10% off any purchase of fragrance oils.

The Bicycle Cellar - Full-service bicycle shop, bicycle rentals, secure bicycle parking and commuter support station
200 E. 5th St., Suite 105, Tempe, AZ 85281
25% off bicycle rentals of two or more bicycles and BOGO Flat Attack tube sealant with any tube installation. Get both your tubes sealed for the price of one.

You can also print coupons for more businesses here.

We wish you a happy and safe holiday season! Enjoy. Every. Minute. 


 

November 5, 2018 – WINTER POLLUTION SEASON HAS ARRIVED


CJ Schneider
Program Coordinator
Valley Metro 

 

Winter Pollution Season began October 1 and the most prominent pollutants are PM-10 and PM-2.5; PM-10 is coarse particulate matter less than 10 micrometers in diameter, generally emitted from sources such as vehicles traveling on unpaved roads, materials handling and crushing and grinding operations, as well as windblown dust. PM-2.5 is fine particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter that results from fuel combustion from motor vehicles, power generation and industrial facilities, as well as from residential fireplaces and wood stoves.

So you may be thinking, “That’s really bad news if our family wants to have a fire to keep warm and to add to the holiday ambiance when a No Burn Day is issued.” Yes and no.

 

There are alternatives to burning wood. For example, electric fireplaces do not require any installation and they have zero emissions – no smoke! They are the most efficient way to heat a room, reducing energy costs. And there is no need to worry about ashes or large flames around children and pets.

Maricopa County Air Quality Department is currently offering two programs to assist with cleaner air and reducing harmful wood burning:

• Fireplace Retrofit Program is a free program to retrofit chimneys with catalytic conversion technology or convert wood burning fireplaces to natural gas. Learn more here.

• Propane Fire Pit Program provides vouchers good for $75 off new propane fire pits purchased at select Home Depot stores. Learn more here.

 

Help protect the health of our loved ones and neighbors and don’t burn wood when it is a No Burn Day. To learn the latest air quality forecast and No Burn Day status, you can download the Clean Air Mobile App, sign up for email or text alerts, visit CleanAirMakeMore.com each day or call 602.506.6400.

We wish you a warm, safe and healthy holiday season!

 


November 5, 2018 – CLEAN AIR CAMPAIGN AWARDS & LUNCHEON – WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?


CJ Schneider
Program Coordinator
Valley Metro 


Imagine being tasked with coordinating an event to accommodate nearly 500 people, serve a top-notch meal, provide musical entertainment that will impress all tastes and deliver a thought-provoking speaker, all at a venue that surrounds guests in desert beauty. Done and done.


On Tuesday, October 25, Valley Metro held the 31st Annual Clean Air Awards & Luncheon at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa. Attendees were treated to a memorable meal, entertainment by Sahnes Music, charming Master of Ceremonies, Amber Sullins of ABC15 News and a keynote address by Tom Szaky, Founder and CEO of TerraCycle. It all came together seamlessly and guests have since provided positive feedback – a true measure of success!

Why do we do it? “Our goal is to produce an effective, memorable and energetic event so guests can gain a broader understanding of the Travel Reduction Program goals and be recognized for all they do,” explains Lillian Duarte, Commute Solutions Coordinator at Valley Metro. 

Left to right: Master of Ceremonies, Amber Sullins, Chief Meteorologist, ABC15 News, Lillian Duarte, Commute Solutions Coordinator at Valley Metro and Tom Szaky, TerraCycle Founder & CEO

Lillian adds, “We begin planning the event in February each year and my favorite part is watching all the components come together on the big day in late October. I love that we get to treat others to a great time and I get to feed my creativity!” 

This year, 17 awards were presented to winners in categories such as Outstanding Commuter – Carpooler or Vanpooler, Outstanding Travel Reduction Program at an employer with 50-250, 251-500 and more than 500 employees, Outstanding Leadership and Corporate Sustainability at an employer with 50-499, 500-1,500 and more than 1,500 employees. Judges selected from a batch of nominations that came from coworkers, supervisors or the nominees themselves. Winners were selected based on their achievements in clean air and traffic reduction. And boy, there were impressive entries!


Left to right: Councilmember Robin Arredondo-Savage, Vice Mayor Lauren Tolmachoff, Transportation Coordinator and award winner Danielle Taylor of American Express and Valley Metro CEO Scott Smith


American Express, for example, won an award for Outstanding Travel Reduction Program (TRP) at an employer with more than 500 employees – Private Employer. They pay 100% of their vanpool costs for participants! Their transportation coordinator, Danielle Taylor, works diligently to manage each of their 34 vanpools among many other facets of their program and won an award for Outstanding Transportation Coordinator, More than 500 employees – Private Employer. Click here to see all winners

Can we talk about our guest speaker for a moment? When Tom Szaky, Founder and CEO of TerraCycle spoke, I saw jaws drop. The room was silent and captivated faces were drawn to the huge screens that showed staggering statistics about waste and ocean pollution. But there were also bursts of excitement when Mr. Szaky described some of the projects that his company is working on and has produced. For example, he works with retailers to recycle flip flops into soft playground surfaces. And he works with other stores to recycle metal canisters into bicycles for children in need. His presentation was both inspiring and compelling. But those who attended all make a difference – grand and not so grand. They all add up.

That is the big deal about the Clean Air Awards & Luncheon. We call all contribute to make our community and our planet, a better place to live, work and play. 



 

October 15, 2018 – FALL AND HALLOWEEN HAPPENINGS


CJ Schneider
Program Coordinator
Valley Metro 


It may be hard to believe but it actually feels like fall in the Valley of the Sun! It’s been a while since any of us dare suggest outdoor activities and visit local destinations. But the time is here and the best part – you can take transit, carpool, bike or walk to many of them!

Let’s say haunted houses are one of your favorite pastimes. The Valley offers many thrilling choices and the following are accessible by transit!

Fear Farm – 2209 N. 99th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85037
Take Avondale ZOOM and ZOOM North

    
     

Visit our Facebook page and comment on the October 15 post that announces this blog is live and automatically be entered to win four passes to Fear Farm! Contest ends Wednesday, October 17 at 5:00 pm.

AZ Field of Screams – 5726 N. 75th Avenue, Glendale, AZ 85303
Take Route 60 Bethany Home

Chris Birkett’s Haunted Graveyard – 8414 E. Valley Vista Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85250
Take Scottsdale Miller Road Trolley Road Trolley 

The Crypt & The Asylum
1445 W. Southern Avenue, Mesa, AZ 85202
Take Route 104 Alma School

Compliments of Phoenix New Times, check out the 13 Best Haunted Houses and Halloween Attractions in Phoenix and plan your trip here.

Let’s say you prefer to steer clear of darkness and haunted houses and instead enjoy long walks surrounded by a brighter view and desert beauty. Here are a few family-friendly places to explore with unforgettable sights, sounds and tastes:

Desert Botanical Garden
1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, AZ 85008
Take Route 56 Priest
Upcoming events include Strange Garden, Dia De Los Muertos Celebration and Chiles & Chocolate Festival.

Japanese Friendship Garden
1125 N. 3rd Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85003
Take Route 0 Central Avenue and Valley Metro Rail
In addition to more than 50 varieties of plants, visitors can enjoy the serenity of walking alongside flowing streams, a 12-foot waterfall and a pond with more than 300 colorful Koi fish.

Arizona State Fair
1826 W. McDowell Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85007
Take Route 19 – 19th Avenue
With spectacular concerts, rides and games, delectable food, enchanting animals and livestock and so much more, there is something for everyone!



No matter what you do this fall, we hope you’ll use alternative modes of transportation:

The savings are not spooky! 
No more stopping at the ghostly gas pump as often as you do when driving alone.
Winning prizes is wicked when you track trips at ShareTheRide.com.
When you share the ride, you can coast in the HOV lane and pass those creepy crawly cars stuck in traffic. Instead, save time, money and reduce pollution, traffic congestion and stress! 

 

 

October 1, 2018 – WALK IT OFF!


CJ Schneider
Program Coordinator
Valley Metro 



As children, we would fall. Our coaches and parents would say, “Walk it off.” Admittedly, it often worked. We got back up, dusted ourselves off and moved on.

Welcome to adulthood where not much has changed. When dealing with downfalls, get back up, dust yourself off and move forward. But there are real reasons why walking – literally - helps us recover and improve. 

Walking improves health. Physicians recommend at least 30 minutes of activity daily. Walking to work or a transit stop can meet this goal. 
Walking reduces stress. Physical activity releases endorphins. Instead of a stressful drive-alone commute, feel the breeze and enjoy the trip.
Walking reduces pollution compared to driving. Help everyone breathe easier by commuting with zero emissions. Eliminate the need for fossil fuels and reduce dependence on petroleum. 
Walking provides a new perspective. Walkers move at a slower pace than drivers, making it possible to observe and discover new places and people. Vary routes to learn more about neighborhoods.

Besides the physical benefits, walking can also equal rewards! When you register at ShareTheRide.com and track walking commute trips, you can enter contests! That’s right – walking as an alternative mode is sometimes overlooked. It can also be combined with transit, carpool and vanpool for a multi-modal commute. This is a great solution for longer distances.

Are you convinced yet? Here are some tips to get started:
1. Ask your doctor. As with any new physical activity, be sure you’re up to the challenge.
2. Get in gear. Walkers need more than just the right shoes. You’ll need protection from the sun, water and maybe a backpack. 
3. Plan a route. There are lots of tools to find walking routes:
a. Go online. Search Google Maps for directions. Click the walking icon, and “Get Directions”.
b. Get the picture. Maps of paths and trails are available at valleymetro.org
c. Find a friend. Visit ShareTheRide.com to find a walking route and/or partner. Registration is free.

Would you like to join with other walking groups, participate in walk events, or even organize one? 

Walk and Bike to School events include children and adults.

Feel good about setting an example for young walkers while meeting your fitness goals. Walk to School Day is Wednesday, October 10. Learn more here. .


WalkPHX Wednesdays is a free social walk/run that takes place on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month and takes you on a 3.2-mile loop through Downtown Phoenix, and through three parks.

 

Events are happening now through Wednesday, December 12. After completing your walk/run, enjoy a rotating selection of local food trucks while socializing with a great group of people who, just like you, are looking for a fun way to stay fit and be engaged in the community. 

Workplace programs. The Employer’s Guide on How to Start a Walking Program is a great resource for managers, Human Resources and owners to implement a simple, yet effective program for employees. You’ll learn how a walking workout plan helps employees reduce weight, lower cholesterol, increase energy, and improve brain function. Reduced healthcare costs, lower employee absenteeism rates, and a boost in employee productivity are also benefits to employers.

Consider walking plus a transit trip, or walk to a nearby park-and-ride to meet a carpool or vanpool – there are many ways walking can be a viable commute solution.

Valley Metro’s Commute Solutions team can help you with a walk program. Let us know how we can help .

 




September 17, 2018 – TELEWORK HAS MANY ADVANTAGES

CJ Schneider
Program Coordinator
Valley Metro 



The reactions to the word “telework” range from awe-inspiring to skeptical. Here’s why: some employers and employees are thrilled with the idea of removing a commute, reducing costs for operating a vehicle and overhead, reducing pollution and traffic and contributing to a better work-life balance. 

On the other hand, there are employers and - while it’s hard to believe - employees who cringe at the thought because they visualize a person who is not working, lounging in pajamas and fuzzy slippers and merely collecting a paycheck. I hate to break it to you, folks, but employees present in the workplace is not a guarantee that they are working. 

 

If you are a manager and considering telework be added to your department, think about this: productivity is the measure of a successful team, not their physical location. Forbes reports in a recent article, “Boost Your Productivity Through Telecommuting”, that it can be hard to trust people to be as productive at home as they would be in a more heavily supervised office . David Kerr, CEO at Octiv, believes that the two biggest misconceptions around a mobile workforce are communication and accountability.  If you have measurable key performance indicators in place tied to your overall goals, you can more easily measure productivity and performance. For many businesses, the benefits are well worth the risks, especially due to the recruiting advantage.

What about connectivity? Technology, software, hardware and social media all contribute to bringing, and keeping, the team together. In fact, many managers will attest that their team members are located in multiple cities and meetings are possible with video conferencing and online meetings plus shared drives and databases.

We met with a Phoenix teleworker, Lori H., Professional Lines Underwriter at Chubb and Sons. “I have telecommuted a day or two per week for the past five years or so, removing a trip each way that is approximately 25 miles,” Lori smiles. The benefits Lori enjoys include helping the air quality and saving money.

Lori advises those who want to begin teleworking to talk to their manager, human resources representative or transportation coordinator (for employers enrolled in Maricopa County’s Travel Reduction Program) to start. “They can immediately save time, money and stress caused by driving to their place of employment. There are also monthly contests with great prizes that employers may offer in addition to those awarded at ShareTheRide.com!”

 

September 3, 2018 – OCTOBER IS RIDESHARE MONTH!



CJ Schneider
Program Coordinator
Valley Metro 


So you may have heard and seen by now that October is Rideshare Month. It’s a time for Valley residents to abandon the drive-alone commute and instead, try transit, carpooling, vanpooling, biking, walking and teleworking.

Large employers will typically inform their employees and driving-age students how to get involved because it is part of their Travel Reduction Program and commitment to cleaner air. But what if you are not among those who receive this news? Read on!


Begin by taking the pledge now through September 30 to use an alternative mode during Rideshare Month. It’s easy and you will be entered to win one of two $50 Fox Restaurant Concepts gift cards!

From September 16-22, take a picture of your commute and post it to our Facebook page. We will choose three winners. More great prizes are at stake:

First place: a one-night hotel stay with breakfast for two at Four Points by Sheraton Phoenix North 
Second place: $25 Valle Luna Mexican Restaurant 
Third place: $15 Cold Stone Creamery gift card 

Next, make good on that pledge and use an alternative mode(s) during October as often as you can. Track each trip made for the work commute in your ShareTheRide.com calendar to earn points and enter contests for…you guessed it, more great prizes! There is also a Commuter Challenge, a New User contest and more!

Winning prizes for your efforts is awesome. But those who participate already win because they save money, reduce pollution and traffic congestion, prevent vehicle wear, get to work quicker and much more. You’ve got nothing to lose except stress and a huge gas bill!

Happy Rideshare Month, all!

 


 

August 20, 2018 – VANPOOL PROGRAM MAY BE A PERFECT FIT! 

 
CJ Schneider
Program Coordinator
Valley Metro 

 

Imagine this. It’s time to leave for work and you get in your car and drive a short distance (or bike or walk) to a nearby Park-and-Ride lot. You park in a secure covered space and get into an air-conditioned, safe and roomy van with five to 14 other commuters.

You’ve become friends with your fellow passengers, so the ride to work is enjoyable. You may discuss the news, weather, sports or how your kids are doing in school. Or you may be relaxing with the seat reclined and listening to music with headphones. Meanwhile, a fellow vanpooler is safely driving your group to work, maybe stopping once or twice to pick up other passengers. You are coasting along in the HOV lane past traffic and arrive safely to work. You say goodbye to your friends until you rejoin for the return ride. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a vanpool.

Participants share the cost of the lease and fuel. Based on the total distance driven and the number of participants, these folks can save a significant amount of money, gas, time and vehicle wear. On average, each person spends about $25 per week. Sounds pretty good if you typically travel 20 miles or more each way!

Take Rosendin Electric, for example. They launched their first vanpool in July with nine workers who share a commute from the Goodyear Park-and-Ride to Intel’s Ocotillo Campus in Chandler – almost 90 miles roundtrip! Rosendin workers meet at 4:00 a.m. each weekday with their hard hats, safety equipment and reflective vests needed on the job site. Workers rotate driving duty with each trip, giving their co-workers time to talk, sleep or catch up on email.

In the past two months, Rosendin Electric has started four vanpools with nearly 40 employees participating in the program!

Angie Wilkie, Vanpool Program Coordinator, shares “The Valley Metro Vanpool Program is not only a great way for commuters to save money and time, it also reduces stress and helps create long lasting friendships. We currently have 361 active vanpools throughout Maricopa County. Last fiscal year, our vanpool groups drove 6,387,906 miles. This equals 13 roundtrips to the moon!”

So where do you begin if you’re interested? Valley Metro offers resources like brochures, a recorded webinar, Lunch and Learn presentations to Valley employers and more. Contact Commute Solutions at 602.262.7433 or vanpool@valleymetro.org. And now is the perfect time to begin – new vanpools get one month free! Offer expires August 31, 2018 – see flyer below.


 

 

August 6, 2018 – IT’S BACK TO SCHOOL TIME! 
 
CJ Schneider
Program Coordinator
Valley Metro 


It may still be in the triple digits outside and our minds are on vacation, but many Valley schools are now back in session! Parents, students, teachers and commuters are all affected. Streets are filled with pedestrians, traffic is more congested and calendars fill up with before and after school activities. Let’s take a look at a few ways to ease into the routine. 

Safety tips for drivers and pedestrians:

Stop, look and listen around light rail tracks and bus stops.
When crossing streets, always look both ways and cross only at crosswalks.
Never try to outrun a light rail train or bus – it’s dangerous and not worth the risk to save a few minutes.
Always be extra cautious when driving around transit and in school zones.

Cost-savings tips:
Students ages 6-18 are eligible for reduced fares, which is half-off the regular price ($2.00 for a 1-Day Pass or $32 for a 31-Day pass). Students need to provide one of the following forms of identification to receive Student Fare:
1.) Driver’s license or state-issued ID card
2.) Student ID with photo age or current school year
3.) Valley Metro Reduced Fare ID card

ASU students can purchase the U-pass for the upcoming academic school year for $150, which is a $50 savings compared to last year. The ASU U-Pass is for unlimited rides on bus and rail for the entire school year (August 13, 2018 through May 12, 2019). That’s about 55 cents a day!

GRiD Bike Share offers students a 6-month pass for $25! Bike share opens up mobility options and makes public transit more viable. It also enables greater access to multi-modal trips where you may use bike share for the first part of your trip, but may take light rail, a car service or even catch a ride with a friend on the way home.

Driving-age students and non-students can register for free at ShareTheRide.com and search for a carpool partner. Even if your schedule changes, you can modify your profile and/or carpool only on the days when your schedule is consistent. By carpooling, you’ll save on gas, wear and tear on your vehicle, reduce pollution and traffic congestion and get to school faster by riding in the HOV lane – even if you’re not looking forward to the school day!

   


Trip-planning tips:
Download the Ridekick® app and make traveling on public transportation even easier. The new app features:
Easier navigation
Interactive trip planning
Find your NextRide
Greater accessibility 
Save favorite routes and stops 

ShareTheRide.com and its mobile app also provide trip-planning features, a commuting cost calculator, contests for participants with amazing prizes and much more! Check out all online tools and use the ones that suit your commute! 

We wish all students, parents, teachers and commuters a safe school year! Be sure to stay social and follow us on Facebook for more tips, contests and inspiration!

 
 


July 23, 2018 – A LOOK AT VALLEY METRO’S MOBILITY CENTER 

CJ Schneider
Program Coordinator
Valley Metro 

   

Riding the bus and light rail may seem easy. But for some, it can be a challenge. Passengers may be new to the transit system, may not be English-proficient, or may have disabilities that add difficulty.

In fact, surveys and studies show that the inability to access transportation is the biggest barrier to education, employment, health care and other essential services for people with disabilities. But Valley Metro’s Mobility Center is enhancing the lives of thousands of people with disabilities each year by providing them with the skills and services they need to get out and about. 








Travel Training
Valley Metro provides free training for passengers
with disabilities who need help navigating routes.

Opened in 2010, the Valley Metro Mobility Center offers programs and services to connect seniors and people with disabilities with Valley Metro bus, light rail and paratransit/Dial-a-Ride services. Those with disabilities can receive free one-on-one training to use public transit, and qualified seniors and people with disabilities can obtain eligibility for the Reduced Fare Program. If a customer is unable to use conventional bus and light rail service, she can apply for paratransit, Dial-a-Ride and other discounted transportation programs.

“Valley Metro’s mission is to connect communities and enhance lives,” explains Ron Brooks, Manager of Accessible Transit Services. “This is nowhere more true than at the Mobility Center, where our job is to assist customers with disabilities and seniors by connecting them with programs and services specifically designed to meet their needs. It is very rewarding to know that the work we do here at the Mobility Center empowers our customers to get out of their homes, to go to school, to get jobs, to raise families and to do all the things that make life worth living. It’s a big responsibility and a great reason to come to work each day.”

The Mobility Center is conveniently located at 4600 E. Washington in Phoenix and accessible by light rail, local bus, Phoenix Dial-a-Ride and Valley Metro Paratransit.

The Mobility Center offers a host of services that include:

ADA Paratransit Eligibility

• ADA Platinum Pass Program

• Fixed-Route Transit Training

• Installation of Securement Loop

• Non-ADA Dial-a-Ride Eligibility

• Valley Metro Reduced Fare Program

   

The Mobility Center opened in 2010.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Mobility Center is the indoor transit course. When visitors enter, they step into an environment complete with streets, neighborhoods and commerce. “It is as real as we could make it,” says Ron Brooks. “We have a safe, comfortable place where we can assess the transportation needs of our customers and where they can get some practice planning trips, getting to the nearest bus or light rail stop, and even boarding and exiting an actual bus. This is especially helpful for people who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices and for others who have never used transit before.”

 

Valley Metro’s Mobility Center
4600 E. Washington, Suite 101
Phoenix, AZ 85034
Phone: 602.716.2100

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is also travel assistance for those who do not qualify for these services. Valley Metro partners with Ability 360 Center in Phoenix, where they provide training for the general public each month. Attendees will learn how to take bus and light rail and the class is free! For more information, contact David Carey at 602.443.0723 or DavidC@ability360.org.

  

 

 

 

July 2, 2018 – LET’S DISCUSS ALTERNATIVE FUEL VEHICLES (AFVs)

 
CJ Schneider
Program Coordinator
Valley Metro 



Whether you are considering purchasing a different vehicle or not, alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) have become more appealing because of fuel efficiency, cleaner emissions and for some, the benefit of riding in the HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lane. But not all AFVs are created equal.

For example, there are hybrids, 100% electric and bio-diesel vehicles, and it’s important to know the difference. The EPA – United States Environmental Protection Agency – is a great resource to “crack the code”. Check out their infographic:

 


Maricopa County Travel Reduction Program (TRP) encourages the use of AFVs, however, AFV drivers who commute alone still contribute to traffic congestion and should not qualify for incentives equal to those who carpool, vanpool, ride transit, bike and walk. Valley Metro developed a flyer to explain the role of AFVs in the TRP. In a similar way, participants who log alternative mode activity at ShareTheRide.com will find that the point value for driving AFVs is less than trips made with other alternative modes, such as transit, carpool, and biking. 

Whether you’re interested in a BMW, Ford or Tesla, many auto makers now offer an all-electric option. Vehicles range in size from two-seat city runners to full-size luxury sedans and SUVs. More than 1 million electric cars are projected to be sold by 2020, and by 2030, it’s estimated that one in four new cars sold will be electric.

Although the federal and state governments help with credits and rebates, be prepared to pay more than traditional vehicles because they simply cost more to produce. Learn about performance, safety, features, charging time and more here.  

Making an informed decision, comparing pros and cons and taking advantage of offers are among the best ways to approach making a change over to an AFV. Clean Cities is also a great resource, with local representatives who can provide expert advice.


Target stores are charging up their Electric Vehicle Program to reach more than 20 states. 

 

 

June 18, 2018 – GET TO THE AIRPORT WITH EASE
 
CJ Schneider
Program Coordinator
Valley Metro 


If you have plans to travel a long distance, chances are good that you need to get familiar with Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. Make the task less daunting and get familiar with Valley Metro Bus and Rail and PHX Sky Train to get there!

Avoid traffic, reduce pollution and skip paying parking fees when you ride transit to get to the airport! Bus routes 1 and 44, as well as any of the 41 light rail stops, will take passengers to the 44th St/Washington light rail station. You can connect to PHX Sky Train, a free shuttle that circulates to each terminal and East Economy parking.

 

   

For locals who are not planning to depart the Valley of the Sun, there are plenty of fabulous shops and eateries at the airport . Among them are Arizona Highways, Bunky Boutique and Cactus Candy, which carry gifts that reflect the spirit and taste of the Southwest.

   

Check out Barrio Café for unique Mexican American cuisine, Humble Pie for scratch-made pizza with mouthwatering crust, or Wildflower Bread Company for delicious comfort food that starts with Artisan bread!

You can win five 1-Day Local passes during June when you track alternative mode trips! Details are here.

Whether you travel short or long distances, add a little adventure and make a stop at Sky Harbor International Airport airport with ease. Safe travels, all!

 


June 4, 2018 – WHAT IS SUMMER OZONE?

CJ Schneider
Program Coordinator
Valley Metro 

We’ve all seen and heard the warning signs: A high pollution advisory, or HPA, is in effect. You may think, “OK, it’s extra dusty and I should probably stay indoors.” But what’s really happening around us and how bad is it?

Glad you asked! Valley Metro partners with the Maricopa County Air Quality Department (MCAQD) to inform Valley residents and employees about air quality and pollution prevention.

Ground-level ozone is the most widespread air quality problem in the US, thriving on sunny days and high temperatures. It is formed when sunlight combines with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). It’s also harmful and should not be confused with the “good” ozone in the upper atmosphere.

In case you’re wondering, there are other types of pollution, such as carbon monoxide and particulate pollution (PM-10 and PM-2.5), dominant during winter months.


An HPA is issued when the highest concentration of pollution may exceed the federal health standard. Everyone, especially people with lung disease, such as asthma, should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion.

What can you do to prevent pollution?

“By making simple changes at least one day a week to our daily activities, such as reducing our driving, taking light rail or the bus, refueling after dark or riding a bike to work, we can have a significant impact on reducing ozone and help keep our air clean,” Maricopa County Air Quality Director Phil McNeely said. “Commit to one day and help keep ozone away.”

You can also register for free, create a profile and search for a vanpool or carpool right here at ShareTheRide.com; sign up for email and text alerts for HPAs and clean air updates; and download the Clean Air Make More App to receive real-time air quality information with the ability to report an air quality problem.

Together, we all can make small changes that add up to a big impact during summer. Do your part, encourage others, and let’s breathe easier.

    


MCAQD mascot, Gus T. Breeze, getting the word out about ozone to the community.

 

 

May 21, 2018 – SUMMER’S ALMOST HERE - CHECK OUT DESTINATIONS THAT ARE NEAR!

CJ Schneider
Program Coordinator
Valley Metro

Valley students are cheering because the end of the school year is near and that means summer fun follows! This may or may not mean that parents are cheering but we can all agree that summer is approaching and we want to have some fun!

While many of us dream of basking in the sun on an island far away, or cruising on a ship to a tropical oasis, the reality is that we all can’t make those dreams come true. But, that doesn’t mean summer can’t be fun, educational, safe and accessible! Valley Metro has developed a Destinations Guide to share local places to visit. These venues are family-friendly, affordable and accessible by transit!

  • Looking to make a splash? Big Surf, Enchantment Island Amusement Park and Golfland Sunsplash have you covered.
  • Interested in exploring nature? Desert Botanical Garden offers a 140-acre garden and five unique trails to explore and enjoy the beauty of the Sonoran Desert; the Japanese Friendship Garden boasts 3.5 acres with a tea garden, tea house, more than 50 varieties of plants and a Koi pond with over 300 colorful Koi fish.
  • Those looking for arts and culture will find it easy to get to ASU Gammage for a play, Comerica Theater for a concert, and the Musical Instrument Museum to view more than 6,800 instruments on display from around the world and enjoy live entertainment!
  • We can’t leave out our shoppers! Get to malls by bus and light rail, such as Arrowhead Towne Center, Chandler Fashion Center; and visit Westgate Entertainment District for more shopping plus sporting events!


               

And now for the really exciting part – Tell us your favorite activity to do during summer by emailing cschneider@valleymetro.org for a chance to win two free passes to either SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium , where winners will experience amazing exhibits and sea life creatures; or LEGOLAND Discovery Center Arizona, where winners will see fascinating attractions, including Merlin’s Apprentice Ride and Dino Explorer. Both venues are accessible by transit and are located inside Arizona Mills Mall. Winners will be randomly selected and contest ends on Thursday, May 31 at 5:00 pm.

Remember to check out the Destinations Guide – there is something for everyone! Have a safe and fun summer, too!

 


May 7, 2018 – WHAT IS THE TRAVEL REDUCTION PROGRAM (TRP)?

CJ Schneider
Program Coordinator
Valley Metro

Employers and schools in Maricopa County with 50 or more full time employees and driving age students, at one or more site, must participate in the Maricopa County Travel Reduction Program (TRP). The goals include reducing air pollution and traffic congestion.

Specifically, employers and schools are asked to reduce single occupant vehicle (SOV) trips and/or miles traveled to the work site by 10 percent for a total of five years, followed by five percent for three additional years, or until a 60 percent rate of SOV travel is reached. That’s the program in a nutshell and to some, might seem like a burden. But step back and take a look at the big picture and you’ll see how the program benefits Valley residents and commuters. It equates to cleaner air, smoother commutes, savings, less stress and more.

TRP employers and schools are required to offer incentives that will encourage change in their employees’ commute behavior. For example, those who carpool may be rewarded with covered parking close to the entrance. Why does this matter? Parking close to the entrance, especially when temperatures soar, can mean a much more pleasant trek. When two or more driving-age people share the ride to work, they can use the HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lane, save money and time, lessen vehicle wear and arrive less stressed than driving alone.

Prize drawings are another popular incentive and typically include a gift card worth $25 or more that participants who use alternative modes can enter to win. Imagine taking the bus or light rail and saving on commute costs plus you have the chance to win a gift card to Amazon or Starbucks. That’ll perk you up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Incentives, to reduce drive-alone travel, range from prize drawings and transit subsidies to onsite showers and daycare. While it is up to each employer to choose incentives that will best influence change, employees have the chance to express the most desirable incentives during the annual survey. Check with your Human Resources department if your employer is a participant in the TRP.

Employers are required to inform new hires so you may have a notice in your new hire packet that’s just waiting for you to set eyes on. If your employer has fewer than 50 full time employees, they may participate on a volunteer basis by contacting Maricopa County Travel Reduction Department at 602-506-6750. Valley Metro’s Commute Solutions team is available to help answer questions, provide training and other support for a successful program. 


 

April 23, 2018 – KEEP PEDALING AND GET TO KNOW GRID BIKES

CJ Schneider
Program Coordinator
Valley Metro

Valley Bike Month is going strong, but will you continue to ride when April ends? We sure hope so and there are resources to help. Find a bike shop to obtain a bike or make repairs to your own; find a bike buddy at ShareTheRide.com , or check out Grid Bikes – a network of stations where bikes are publicly available for short-term rental.

Maybe you’ve you seen the bright green bikes in motion or at racks in Mesa, Phoenix and Tempe. Grid Bikes launched in 2013 and has grown because people tried it, liked it and ultimately, signed up for it! I met with Lisa Parks, Community Outreach Manager at Grid Bikes to learn more.

Lisa has been with Grid Bikes since 2013, a year before it launched, “We've grown quite a bit and have expanded from Phoenix into Tempe and Mesa.” 

Lisa addressed community involvement, “We've also launched a Grid For All equity program to reach the underserved with $5 annual memberships. So far, we've partnered with the City of Phoenix Housing Department in the Edison-Eastlake neighborhood as part of a Choice Neighborhoods grant from Aetna. And we've also partnered with the City of Mesa to offer low-income residents this membership. In addition, we offer deeply discounted group memberships, which many people don't know about.” These initiatives shed light on the many reasons Grid Bikes has grown and serves a diverse audience.

You may be thinking that this sounds like a good resource. But is it difficult to use? Lisa assures, “Once you try it, you'll realize how simple it is! We've even got a video on our website to show how to get started and you might even try it out with a friend so you can take that first ride together. The Social Bicycles app also makes it easy to find the nearest bike and contains tutorials.” 

What’s next for Grid? Lisa shares, “Of course, we're always looking to expand and install new stations. Bike share is constantly evolving so we're excited to see what happens next!” Now through May 31, new users may use promo code GRID00317 for a free 7-Day Pass!  

 

 

April 9, 2018 – SHARETHERIDE IS MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE

CJ Schneider
Program Coordinator
Valley Metro

By now, you have likely heard about ShareTheRide. I mean, you’re here, right? Something must have lured you. Was it the free registration and nearly 40,000 participants who create a greater chance to find a commute partner? Maybe the New User and Monthly contests with great prizes caught your eye?

How about the Team Challenge currently underway with teams of bicyclists competing for a victory party and limited edition t-shirts?



Whatever drew you in, we’re glad you’re here! Now get to know us…

If you haven’t registered yet, follow these easy steps:

1. Go to ShareTheRide.com.
2. Click Register.
3. Enter First Name and Last Name as prompted.
4. Create your User ID (use your work email address) and Password.
5. Read and accept the Terms and Conditions of Use and Privacy Statement.
6. When the Account Created box appears, click OK to continue.
7. On the next screen, complete the Personal Information. (This information is confidential and cannot be viewed by others on this site.) Click Next when done.
8. Create your first trip profile. Enter the Trip Name and origin and destination addresses. Select Trip Visibility if you want to be available for matches with others. Enter your work schedule and mode of travel. Click Save to continue.
9. A confirmation email will be sent to you with a link. Click on the link to activate your account and use the system.
10. Log on to your account and go to Find Commuting Partners. Then select Carpool, Bike, Walk or Bus.
11. Click My Trip Tracker, My Commute Calendar to log commute trips and earn prize points.
12. To enter contests, click Enter Contests on the Commute Calendar page.

Once registered, you’ll be able to create a profile with a unique route(s) to work, schedules and the ability to make yourself visible to others for carpool matching. You’ll be able to search for a vanpool with an available seat, calculate your cost savings and greenhouse gases prevented, track alternative mode trips in your personal calendar, enter contests and much more.

We also offer Custom Subsites for transportation coordinators at large employers in Maricopa County to comply with the Travel Reduction Program (TRP).

Here’s what one ShareTheRide user, Maria who works at U.S. Foods in Tempe has to say: "I've been using ShareTheRide.com for nearly 11 years! I registered when I was with my old company and matched with a carpool partner who worked elsewhere; and now I carpool with a coworker," Maria explains.

"My favorite things about ShareTheRide include it's extremely easy to use, I have no problem tracking trips, I save money because I no longer drive and my partner and I split the costs, and finally, I have built friendships!" Maria began using the site because of medical reasons and although she is able to drive, she chooses not to and instead, enjoys the ride and many benefits.

Let us know how your experience is using ShareTheRide.com by choosing “Contact Us” at the bottom of the home page.



March 19, 2018 – VALLEY BIKE MONTH IS AROUND THE CORNER!

CJ Schneider
Program Coordinator
Valley Metro


You may have heard - Valley Bike Month occurs in April each year. So what’s all the buzz about?


First, the weather in the Valley is perfect! It’s easy to get outdoors and stay outdoors with a light breeze and plenty of sunshine. Next, those who bike can take advantage of events in multiple cities, team up for a challenge and enter contests to win prizes. In a nutshell, it’s the perfect time to explore biking and its benefits.

No matter where you reside, there is likely a family-friendly event near you . For example, you can enjoy the El Mirage Bunny Hop Bicycle Rodeo, Chandler Family Bike Ride and Cycle the Arts Downtown Family Friendly Ride. How does Upcycled Crafts Night at Rusty Spoke or Phoenix Spokes People/FilmBar Bike-in Movie sound? Y'all, these are more than just bike rides – they are events that connect you to community while getting exercise and reducing pollution!

Wondering how to make biking work for your work commute? You can take your bike on the bus and light rail to extend a transit trip. Valley Metro buses accommodate 2 – 3 bikes each and bikes can be hung on the light rail racks inside each train or riders may stand beside the bike away from the doors. We have a flyer to teach you how.

Need another reason to participate? Email cschneider@valleymetro.org and tell us what you like about biking and you will be entered to win a Valley Bike Month 2018 t-shirt! Deadline to submit is Friday, March 23 – winner will be announced on our Facebook page on Monday, March 26. Good luck and happy riding!





March 5, 2018 – PLAN YOUR TRIP WITH EASE

CJ Schneider
Program Coordinator
Valley Metro


Although the rewards are high, planning a trip using transit, biking, walking or ridesharing can take some effort. There are bus routes and schedules to consider, maps to read and carpool matches to contact. Do you ever wonder where to start?

In today’s world engulfed with technology, Valley Metro is excited to offer online tools that make each mode easier to take:

Ridekick® - a free app that provides interactive trip planning

NextRide - an electronic service that provides next bus and train schedule information. All you need is a phone or access to the internet, your route number and your STOP# (located at every bus stop and light rail station).

Trip Planner - maps the routes and uses Google technology

eSchedule - allows you to view point-to-point stop times.

eTransit Book - enables you to select only the routes you want and print. It’s lightweight and less waste than a Transit Book.

ShareTheRide.com - Valley Metro’s free online multimodal trip matching system that provides cost savings information, contests to reward participants and much more!



Why so many options? Valley Metro’s Marketing Manager, Gricel Ferreyra shares, “According to our last Rider Satisfaction Report in 2016, 80% of riders have a mobile phone with them and most of those are smart phones. Our focus is on providing customers a convenient and user-friendly customer experience. We want to provide our riders the tools they need when they are on the go so we built in tools to plan their trip, check their NextRide, get route schedules and so much more.”

You may have taken note of that cute octopus and his friends, wondering what they represent. Ms. Ferreyra explains, “The octopus has become our official eco-friendly mascot to encourage our riders to “Save Ink” and use online tools instead of our printed Transit Book. Nobody wants octopuses to use their ink in the ocean and we are hoping that this light-hearted mascot helps inspire more Valley Metro customers to become earth-friendly and take advantage of our variety of online tools so that they can also save ink in the Valley of the Sun.”





February 19, 2018 – NEXT UP : SPRING TRAINING!

CJ Schneider
Program Coordinator
Valley Metro


It may seem like we were just decorating the Christmas tree, wrapping presents and celebrating the holidays with family and friends when suddenly, we are feeling sunshine and planning to attend Spring Training!

Enjoy the games and leave the driving to Valley Metro. Did you know that most stadiums are accessible by taking Valley Metro Bus, Rural Connector, Neighborhood Circulators and Trollies? Check out Cactus League’s Spring Training schedule here, as well as Valley Metro’s routes at here. Whether you’re traveling from Ajo/Gila Bend to Goodyear Stadium via Route 385, or to Hohokam Stadium in Mesa via Route 112 – Country Club/Arizona Ave., Route 120 – Mesa Dr. or Mesa Downtown Buzz, Valley Metro will provide an affordable, safe and environmentally-friendly way to get there!

“As generations of baseball fans know, March is the best time of year in Arizona. The key for fans to remember is that the season starts early this year – Friday, February 23 – and ends early on Tuesday, March 27. So don’t wait to get out to a ballgame,” advises Cactus League President Jeff Meyer. “One of the great things about the Cactus League is that each of its 10 ballparks is located in the Valley, so visiting fans don’t have to spend a lot of precious vacation time getting to the ballpark.”

New this year: six Cactus League parks will have extended backstop netting along the dugouts - Hohokam Stadium, Goodyear Ballpark, Scottsdale Stadium, Maryvale Baseball Park, Tempe Diablo Stadium and Surprise Stadium, and the rest of the league is expected to follow suit next year. This follows a trend in MLB ballparks; it drew national attention after a little girl was seriously injured by a line drive in the seats behind the dugout at Yankee Stadium last summer.

Mr. Meyer adds, “Another highlight of the Cactus League is the accessibility of the players. Spring training has a relaxed vibe. Each of the Cactus League ballparks has unique features, and I urge fans to check the schedules to learn about special promotions throughout the season."

Fans will be in good company: Arizona’s 15 Cactus League clubs drew a record 1,941,347 fans in 2017! Enjoy Spring Training and let Valley Metro take you out to the ballgame!






February 5, 2018 - KEEPING NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS TO SAVE MONEY AND REDUCE POLLUTION IN CHECK

CJ Schneider
Program Coordinator
Valley Metro


There are many benefits to using transit, carpooling, vanpooling, biking, walking and teleworking instead of driving alone. For example, reducing pollution is possible when sharing the ride and taking cars off the road. For example, 83.5 miles driven equals a pound of pollution.

Saving money is also a significant benefit – commuters spend less on gas, vehicle maintenance and sometimes auto insurance discounts apply. Take it from Willie H, a bus rider who won a 2017 Clean Air Campaign Award for Outstanding Commuter – Transit Rider.

Willie’s commute to work at SRP is 30 miles each way and he has been taking the Express bus for four years! “With the money I have saved, I recently took a trip to Disneyland. My family and I got to vacation and enjoy many laughs instead of putting that money toward gas,” Willie recalls.




ShareTheRide.com offers a Commuting Cost Calculator to track commute savings and annual greenhouse emissions. Track trips to keep New Year’s resolutions of saving money and reducing pollution in check!

Aside from saving money, Willie trades in the traffic jam for jamming out to his favorite tunes, reading, emailing or resting while Valley Metro is behind the wheel. Check out all your transportation solutions at ShareTheRide.com. Explore your options and start saving money, and reduce stress, pollution and traffic congestion.