Like other fast-growing communities, public transportation is a critical service and something each city manages uniquely. There is no one-size-fits-all model when it comes to transit. Instead, each city must closely evaluate how to bring about the right kind of transit to meet the diverse and individualized needs of its residents. As the city grows and matures so too should the public transportation offerings. Over the last several decades, Peoria’s leaders have worked with regional partners to strategically plan, budget and implement an integrated transit system.
“Although the city of Peoria is a relatively young community, we are a fast-growing and quickly evolving city,” said Mayor Cathy Carlat. ”As we continue to grow, we are mindful of the fiscal implications to our citizens and we sensibly build each layer of infrastructure upon the last layer to continue to enhance the quality of life of our residents.”
Integrated, reliable transportation that connects residents to the surrounding region is what makes Peoria a desirable community to live in. Peoria has multiple modes of transit services to meet the individual needs of residents. Fixed route service is provided throughout the day along Peoria Avenue (Route 106), Thunderbird Road (Route 138), and 83rd Avenue (Route 83). Fixed routes are regional routes that span long distances through multiple cities. These buses typically run seven days a week with stops located about every .25 miles.
Different from a fixed or express route, the Grand Avenue Limited (GAL) is a limited commuter route that operates only in peak travel times. It provides two outbound and two inbound trips Monday through Friday between Peoria and downtown Phoenix. Peoria’s stop is located at the new park and ride at 83rd and Peoria Avenues. The goal is to provide commuters fast access to downtown Phoenix, reducing the number of cars traveling on Grand Avenue. Peoria also operates a Dial-A-Ride system Monday through Friday, which is an on-demand, curb-to-curb service. In addition, Peoria contracts with Valley Metro to provide regional paratransit for persons with disabilities, operating seven days a week. Peoria seniors and persons with disabilities rely heavily on both the Dial-A-Ride and paratransit services.
“With the Loop 303 freeway, stretching from I-17 to the I-10, and the Loop 101 freeway, Peoria residents enjoy extensive connectivity, making the area a key destination,” Carlat said.
Peoria is known for its high quality of life and healthy, connected neighborhoods. After a regional study identified a need for more transportation options in the central and northern portions of Peoria, the city added a circulator service called Peoria on the Go (POGO). This circulator service began in April 2019 and connects 18,000 residents with local services, businesses, activity centers and regional bus services. This circulator service began in April 2019 and already 13,517 people have used it in the first six months. POGO approximately 8,000 jobs are within reach of the POGO route. With the free mobile app, residents can see in real-time where the POGO is, making it easy for Peoria residents to get to shopping, entertainment, work, school and home. While it takes time for new transit services to gain attention and users, ridership has surpassed original estimates.
“As the city of Peoria’s representative on Valley Metro’s Governing Board, and current board treasurer, I understand how important local participation is when planning and expanding regional transit services,” said Peoria Councilmember Jon Edwards. “Peoria City Council is committed to enhancing transit options and, in my leadership role, Peoria has been able to prioritize projects at the regional level that will benefit our residents for years to come.”
Perhaps most important of all, since 2017, annual ridership in Peoria has increased from 195,541 to 254,169, demonstrating great use of Peoria’s public transportation services. The city has accomplished this by thoughtfully balancing its distinct transportation needs with reliable and convenient hours of operation.
As Peoria’s population grows and evolves, so will their transportation needs and wants, not to mention the significant effect technology will have on those service offerings in the future. Peoria’s leaders have, and will, continue to prioritize public transportation to increase accessibility, mobility and connectivity for all residents. For more information about the city’s transit system, visit peoriaaz.gov/transit.