[By Beth Duckett | The Republic | azcentral.com | Mon Aug 19, 2013]
Scottsdale express bus link to Tempe light rail proposed
By late 2014, bus riders in north Scottsdale could hop on a sleek new bus with limited stops to quickly reach a light-rail station in Tempe.
The Link transit system along Scottsdale/Rural Road would be the third such bus rapid-transit route in the Valley, speeding up commuter times and providing an alternative to light rail along the heavily traveled corridor.
But it comes at a price.
A transit official, in a presentation to Scottsdale’s Transportation Commission this week, estimated costs of nearly $20 million for vehicles and capital improvements to make the route a reality.
“It’s very sleek vehicles,” said Ben Limmer, corridor and facility development manager for Valley Metro, the local transportation organization in charge of, among other things, bus service. “It operates more quickly than the local bus route (and) usually has enhanced stops, longer, larger vehicles and a special brand to it.”
The price tag would be covered by federal funding and a half-cent-per-dollar sales tax authorized by Proposition 400 for transit projects.
The estimated yearly cost for operations and maintenance is $900,000.
Limmer said the system would give riders real-time information on when the next bus would arrive.
A study, due out in December,will identify an operating plan, capital improvements and final cost estimates.
The weekdays-only route likely would operate between the University Drive/Rural Road light-rail station and Camelback Road, except during peak periods when buses would extend to north Scottsdale, Limmer said.
The northernmost terminus would be north of a park-and-ride lot southeast of Scottsdale and Thunderbird roads.
Valley Metro’s Route 72 on Scottsdale/Rural Road would continue to operate seven days a week.