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Rail Transit In Phoenix, Arizona

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On December 27, 2008, Valley Metro opened Phoenix's first light rail line. Twenty miles with twenty-eight stations. Many stations are island platforms but a few are side platforms. The LRV cars are nice. Full width cabs and doors that are opened and closed by the T/O. Even signs admonishing "Do Not Lean On The Doors" on each door! Shortly before a station, the FIND lights up and a feminine voice announces the station and which side the doors will open. A chime sounds as the doors are about to close. Cars have an area for three bicycles on each side of the car in the middle section. Trains (some three cars) are quiet and have been tested for temperatures of up to 127 degrees. (Phoenix's all-time high is 122 degrees. Though rare, 115 degrees is not uncommon.) The route is double track throughout and includes tail tracks. A train can arrive on either side at the Sycamore Street/Main Street or the Montebello/North 19th Avenue terminals. A left side or a right side train will switch to the correct track shortly after clearing the platform at a terminal station. In Phoenix. the light rail runs with the direction of traffic on Washington and Jefferson Streets which are one way streets. A short section features half ties with a trough down the middle. A low decrotive curb is along the right of way. Service is as frequent as every ten minutes and stations feature a water fountain, shade and art work. Stations are designed so that each end leads you to a crosswalk with a yraffic signal.Fare is $1.25 one way or a $2.50 Day Pass which includes transfers to local connecting buses, including MetroLink, the Bus Rapid Transit extension of the light rail line. This B.R.T. Line is quick with limited stops only every one mile. Fare is on the honor system and random checks are done on the trains. The system is not fool-proof and accidents between trains and vehicles at street crossings have occurred. Overall, a good first line, though.

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