Maricopa’s COMET Gets Shorter Name, More Service

Public transit in Maricopa is expanding with additional circulator buses and stops, making it more convenient and flexible for residents.

The upgrades are being accompanied by a rebranding of the City’s transit system from COMET (City of Maricopa Express Transit) to simply “MET,” with new graphics and colors to match the bus shelters that have begun to appear around town.

The changes, set to begin Nov. 1, include new stops at Tortosa, Maricopa Meadows, City Hall and other locations, along with restoration of service to Ak-Chin. The total number of stops served will increase from 12 to 18.

Also, two buses will be running simultaneously to shorten the wait time between buses for the service, which runs Monday through Friday.

The City now has three citywide circulator buses as ridership continues to grow. Mayor Christian Price said in an Oct. 7 video announcing the expansion that use of the circulator buses and the city’s Dial-A-Ride jumped 41.5% during the last fiscal year, totaling 9,741 passengers.

The expansion is made possible by the Arizona Department of Transportation’s 5311 Rural Transit Grant, which has been contributing to the city’s transit budget for several years. The funding originates with the Federal Transit Administration and is allocated to the states according to a population-based formula.

Judy Ramos, the city’s neighborhood services manager, said its fiscal 2020-21 allocation from the program is $581,000, with $310,000 of that going toward the purchase of two replacement buses and the remaining $271,000 going toward maintenance and operations.

The city normally is required to provide local funding for maintenance and operations to receive the 5311 grant, Ramos said, but this year it was able to use CARES Act funding instead.
More of the bus shelters, which were purchased with the 2020 grant, will soon be installed at the additional stops, she said.

Fares for Maricopa transit will remain the same: 50 cents per ride on the circulator buses and $1 for Dial-A-Ride, which operates everywhere within city limits. To make a reservation for Dial-A-Ride up to two weeks in advance, call 833-MET-RIDE (833-638-7433).

Regional Dial-A-Ride service to Chandler on Tuesdays and Casa Grande on Thursdays for $3 a ride will continue.

For more information, visit through your phone.

Photo: City of Maricopa