How to Get Around Phoenix, Arizona

Updated: 2023-05-08

A tourists or newbies guide to Metro Phoenix transportation. If you’re new or visiting the Valley, it can be an intimidating experience navigating our public transportation system. This guide will help give you the confidence to travel throughout the Greater Phoenix area.

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1. Rent or Use a Car

Realistically, if you’re going to be in Phoenix for an extended period of time, you’ll need a vehicle. Our public transportation system isn’t as robust as other major cities. Luckily, Metro Phoenix was built on a grid system so you’ll get the hang of our roadways in no time.

2. The Valley Metro Rail: A.K.A. The Light Rail

The Metro Rail runs from Northwest Phoenix through Tempe to East Mesa. You’ll hit all three of these cities major downtown areas if you travel via the light rail. Use caution though, not all late night trips travel to the end of the line. Be sure to check your trip details or use a ride share service if you’re traveling at night. A day pass for the Metro Rail will cost you $4. You can purchase a pass at any light rail station.

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Pro Tip: If you’re at Sky Harbor Airport, try taking the Sky Train to the light rail to avoid pricey taxi services.

3. Tempe Street Car

This is the first modern streetcar in the Valley! The Tempe Street Car connects riders to neighborhoods, major business centers and regional events in the Tempe area. This mode of transportation is great for ASU students or people visiting Downtown Tempe. You can access the Tempe Street Car from the Valley Metro Rail (light rail) - just look for the bright green and silver street cars! Currently, the street car is FREE until May 2023, after that it will cost you $1 per ride.

4. Tempe Orbit

The Tempe Orbit is a bus that connects riders to local shopping and neighborhoods in Tempe, Arizona for FREE. There are six Orbit routes: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The routes operator seven days a week, every day of the year.

5. Scottsdale Trolley

If you’re visiting Scottsdale, be sure to take advantage of the FREE trolly system. This service connects riders to entertainment, shopping, dining, community centers and more within the Scottsdale area. The trolley’s route has connections to Valley Metro Transit and the Tempe Orbit. The Scottsdale Trolly is operational Monday - Friday only. Use another mode of transportation on the weekends.

6. Valley Metro Buses

If you need a little more versatilely in your route, try taking the Valley Metro Buses. From Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale, Chandler and Mesa - almost every city in the Valley has access points to Valley Metro Buses. Fare is $4 for a day pass.

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The Valley Metro Rail and Valley Metro Buses use the same pass. No need to buy a second pass if you’re transferring to a Valley Metro Bus bus or vice versa.

Public Transportation Near You in Metro Phoenix

That wraps up the top modes of transportation in the Phoenix Valley. Whether you've just moved to the city or you're visiting for the weekend, these vehicles can help you get to where you need to go. As always be sure to check each transportation schedule before you commit to a ride. Holidays and weekends can change the regular schedules.

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