Phoenix officials work to expand and improve city light rail system

PHOENIX – Officials are building a light rail station in east-central Phoenix with a platform for better wheelchair access, and will be improving passenger pickup times at two of the city’s most popular stations.

Starting in October, the light rail along Central Avenue will pick up passengers every 15 minutes at the Thomas and Camelback stations.

A light rail station at 50th and Washington streets is now under construction and will open in two years. The station will include a platform for those with disabilities, said city officials.

“It is a big project for us,” said Lars Jacoby, a transit department spokesman. He estimated it will cost $23 million. The platform also will help those who cross over to Ability 360, a nonprofit that serves and advocates for those with disabilities, Jacoby said.

The improvements are part of the city’s Transportation 2050 plan. The city will add 42 miles of light rail lines in the next 35 years.

City officials said ridership has increased since the city expanded bus service hours and matched arrival and departures more closely to the light rail schedule.

“I like that it gets me where I’m going a lot faster,” rider Crystal Welsh said as she was about to board a train in downtown Phoenix.

The light rail and bus routes can be accessed through the Valley Metro app or on its website.