Valley Metro celebrates 10-year anniversary of light rail with free rides

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- The light rail is now 10 years old. The track stretches 26 miles from north central Phoenix all the way to Mesa and a third extension into south Phoenix is under construction.

In 2017, more than 16 million people rode the light rail, but it does have its critics.

Valley Metro allowed people to ride the light rail for free on December 27 -- a way to celebrate a decade of service.

Our SkyFOX drone captured incredible video of a light rail train making its way through the Valley.

The light rail was billed as an efficient way to help people get to where they needed to go and a real boost to businesses along its path.

How you feel about the light rail depends on your experience with it. The owner of Haven Burgers in Mesa is not impressed.

"Light rail has done nothing good for this business or city. Nothing. You can go down Main Street.. brought transients.. has not increased business," said Antonios Zanthoudakis.

But at Tracks in Wax, a record shop on Central Avenue near Camelback Road in Phoenix, owner Tim Stamper has a very different take.

"Well, the light rail in the beginning was tough.. but since then, business really good for Phoenix and this area. I can only say positive things about it."

One thing we heard at Joe's Barber Shop near 19th Avenue and Glendale is concern the train is bringing transients into neighborhoods along the light rail route.

"I do not like the homeless outside the barber shop and when I get out, it is dark and do not feel comfortable seeing people outside," said Veronica Alvillar.

People we talked to say they'd like to see a lot more security at light rail stations and on light rail trains. When we rode on the light rail December 27, we saw a lot more security.

Valley Metro is marking 10 years of light-rail service in Phoenix with free rides all day long on December 27.

In addition to the free rides, there will also be a party in downtown Phoenix on Thursday night with live music, entertainment, food and giveaways. You will also be able to meet the Phoenix Suns and ASU mascots at the party.

The free party goes from 5 to 10 p.m. at Talking Stick Resort Arena.

More information is available at