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March 28, 2023


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This post has me reminiscing about the role of buses in my Phoenix life.

The first time I ever rode on a Phoenix city bus was on a field trip in elementary school. We made a round trip from our school in Maryvale to the science museum downtown (the museum was in a different, less conspicuous location in the '80s). After visiting the museum, having lunch, and ascending to the top floor of a "skyscraper" to behold the view of the valley and the nearby mountains, we went to the central bus terminal that is pictured above. I had no clue that a beautiful, historic theater had been demolished to build it. I wonder if our teacher, Mrs. Flores, knew.

Years later, while attending NAU in the mid- and late-90s, I made a decision that saved me thousands of dollars in student loans: I did not have a car. I would sometimes take the Greyhound bus from Flagstaff to Phoenix and back. There was a Greyhound station at the corner of 27th Avenue and Glendale Avenue, which was a (relatively) convenient spot for my relatives on the west side to pick me up and drop me off. Despite the negative perceptions about Greyhound, I don't recall having any problems with anyone at the bus station or on the bus.

After graduating from NAU, I moved back to the valley, and continued my car-free life until I was 26 years old, commuting back and forth to work on Valley Metro buses. I was in at least two crashes while on the city bus, and we once had a new driver on the 1-10 West Express bus, who drove down the wrong ramp at 79th Avenue into oncoming traffic! The freeway had to be shut down so that the driver could turn the bus around.

Ah, the memories!

Now, I live in Prescott, which has nearly non-existent public transportation. By far the worst of any place I have ever lived.

Actually, the wrong-way Express Bus incident happened after I had a car, since that bus departed from the 79th Avenue and McDowell Park-N-Ride lot. I kept riding the bus most days even after I had a car. So a gold star to me for doing my part to not contribute to the Valley's air pollution and traffic congestion. How's that for virtue signaling?

When I attended ASU in the early 60's, to get home near Glendale, I had to use Sun Valley from Tempe to Phoenix, then Phoenix transit to 35th ave and Glendale and walk the rest of the way home.
In 1963 I rode Greyhound from Phoenix to Chicago and back.
In 1965 I rode Trailways to Huntsville AL, to work at NASA.

Ken, when I lived at 36th Street and Campbell in the mid-1970s, I had to take Sun Valley all the way to Scottsdale Road and down to ASU.

Phoenix Transit sold out to Tanner in 57 and merged Metropolitan and was renamed Valley Transit through the 70’s then there 2 ownership changes eventually Valley Metro was the primary provide .
Sun Valley was a regional bus line with limited intra city routes and was primarily a charter bus company .

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