Tempe’s 3-mile streetcar line opened to passengers on Friday, with a free fare for the first year.
The trolley route connects riders to 14 different stops in downtown Tempe, Arizona State University and surrounding neighborhoods, including destinations such as Marina Heights, Gammage Auditorium and Tempe Beach Park.
The tram will operate from 6 a.m. to midnight Monday to Saturday and from 8 a.m. to midnight on Sunday.
Trams are smaller than trams and each can accommodate up to 125 passengers.
The service runs every 20 minutes, although this frequency is expected to improve later this year when the last two trams are added to the service. A total of six vehicles will be on the road.
Tempe Mayor Corey Woods, city council members and other state and local leaders attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday morning to celebrate the valley’s first streetcar.
“With Tempe having the highest number of transit riders per capita in the state, as well as the highest density, a multimodal transportation network is essential,” Woods said. “We are building for our future, and the tram is a great example of that.”
Construction of a $200 million line
Construction of the $200 million light rail line began in 2018, funded by a mix of federal grants, regional funding, and a local public-private partnership between Tempe, ASU, and other landowners.
Trials started last year: The long-awaited streetcar hits the road for testing in Tempe. Here’s when you can expect to ride
The tram was originally scheduled to open last year, but faced delays when the COVID-19 pandemic led to factory closures and supply chain disruptions.
The vehicle is powered by an overhead electrification system and stores energy in a battery to move wirelessly down Mill Avenue.
While the light rail has opened on a 3-mile route, there is already talk of potentially expanding service to Mesa with part of the $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure package passed in 2021.
“The streetcar adds another sustainable option for transit riders to get around the Valley and enhances our comprehensive regional transit network,” said Valley Metro CEO Jessica Mefford-Miller. “It’s also the start of a streetcar system that we hope to expand to Mesa in the years to come.”
Where to jump on the tram
Similar to the light rail, public art created by Arizona artists has been incorporated into all stops and reflects the culture, architecture and natural beauty of the valley.
Unlike the light rail, the tram shares traffic lanes with other vehicles and travels with mixed traffic.
The 14 stops where users can take the tramway are:
Dorsey Lane and Apache Blvd.
Rural road and Apache Boulevard.
Paseo Del Saber and Apache Boulevard.
College Ave and Apache Blvd.
11th Street and Mill Avenue.
Ninth Street and Mill Avenue.
Sixth Street and Mill Avenue.
Third Street and Mill Ave.
University Drive and Ash Ave.
Fifth Street and Ash Ave.
Third Street and Ash Ave.
Tempe Beach Park and Rio Salado Parkway.
Hayden Ferry and Rio Salado Parkway.
Marina Heights and Rio Salado Parkway.
Support local journalism. Subscribe to azcentral.com today.