Tempe set to welcome new streetcar sets; set to enter service later in 2021

The City of Tempe is getting ready to welcome the first of its brand new streetcars.

The streetcar sets came to the East Valley city from Pennsylvania, and they are set to arrive in the next few weeks.

"Tempe is one of the regions within the Greater Phoenix area that we see our highest transit ridership, so it’s great to be offering another way for our ASU student, visitors, residents of Tempe to get around the city more efficiently," said Madeline Phipps with Valley Metro.

The city has been planning and designing the $200 million project for at least 10 years, but construction didn’t begin until three years ago. Phipps says the Streetcar is designed for shorter trips.

"You kind of think about it more as a connector, whether you’re taking it from the light rail stations to destinations within Tempe, but it’s kind of more a connector between destinations in the city, as opposed to making really long distance trips," said Phipps.

The route is three miles long, and includes 14 stops. There will be a total of six vehicles in the fleet.

"What people can expect to see is later this spring, vehicles will begin testing, so it will be out on the system," said Phipps. "They have to go through a lot of different testing, safety checks to make sure they are ready to be operational by the time we open later this year."

Some business owners in the area are thrilled about what this new mode of transportation means for them.

"For people that work in the area, especially in the summer, to get six, seven, eight blocks in the streetcar, in air conditioning, and be able to expand their horizons for lunch and dinner options is also very good for business," said Phipps.

All major construction is completed, and crews are now working on the final touches like landscaping near the area, and installing artwork.