Tonight, my friend wanted to tag along with me on my bus ride from ASU back to my apartment so we could go get dinner. Yay dinner! She had never ridden the bus before.. this was a spur-of-the-moment sort of plan, and as such she had no cash on her for her fare. I didn't have cash either, but I have a U-Pass. But never fear! We were at the Tempe Transit Center, and they have those little machines for buying passes on-site, so she could use her debit card. Yay!
So we go and buy a one-way pass for $1.75 (normal fare). Everywhere on the machine it says that these passes are valid for the light rail AND THE BUS. We wait around for a few minutes the 7:30 bus and happily hop on. I scan my U-Pass, and she sticks her pass in the slot. The driver, very rudely, gets on her case. "IS THAT A LIGHT RAIL PASS?? LIGHT RAIL ONLY!!" so.. we were booted.
There we were again, not sure what to do. I was very, very confused and went to check the machine again to make sure that these passes were indeed intended for the light rail and bus. Yup. Nowhere is there any special "bus" option. These passes are supposed to work for both, no question about it. I called and asked my dad about it (he is involved in Maricopa county transportation), and he said it should work on the bus. Distraught, we asked an off-duty bus driver about it, and he tells us you have to buy an all-day pass at those machines for them to work on the buss. The all-day passes cost twice as much as the one-way passes.
What the fuck??
On the upside, my dad says he is going to look into it and bring it up with Valley Metro himself ASAP. Something might actually get done if he does this since he is directly involved in things of this nature. I know a lot of people in this community also use Valley Metro buses, so if you guys have any specific complaints of dire importance, I can forward them to him and MAYBE we will see results. I hope so, anyway. Since they don't seem to care about complaints directly from the customers..
TL;DR Regular one-way bus fare: $1.75. All-day pass: $3.50. If you try to buy a one-way bus pass at the machines that specifically say all the passes work for the bus and light rail, you will get a pass that is ONLY valid on the light rail. GG!