TICO isn't the only transit offering with a catchy name, all of our circulators have catchy names too. ALEX, DASH, MARY and SMART are all easy to remember, unless you're trying to remember what they mean, because they are actually acronyms. So we put together this flash (that would be a good circulator name too) card to help you (and us) remember what each circulator's name really means.
Celebrating a "National Day" the TICO way
It's no secret that here at #TICOTuesday headquarters we have a couple crutches to routinely help us out with our tweets, so it only seemed appropriate that on #NationalBookLoversDay we take some time to give those "crutches" their time in the spotlight.
Pop goes TICO
As we have shown in the past, every now and then we are going to break from the normal #TICOTuesday tweets. So when it's the birthday of a man known for his pop art, TICO took the opportunity to honor Andy Warhol (and TICO too).
Ahead of our time
Today marks the 26th anniversary the America with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush, and as a result required all transit agencies to purchase buses that were wheelchair accessible.
However, nearly a decade before the Phoenix Public Transit Department had already begun the process to ensure that transit was accessible to everyone in Phoenix. The first accessible that was put into service was #4401 (pictured below), which became part of the fleet in 1981. All bus orders from that point on were for accessible buses and in 1998 the department reached a 100% accessible bus fleet.
To celebrate the ADA law, the Phoenix Mayor’s Commission on Disability Issues and the Equal Opportunity Department are seeking nominations for Phoenix's Disability Awards and Recognition Event, which honors individuals with disabilities, their employers and others who have shown dedication to the access and functional needs community. Learn more at phoenix.gov/eod.
Two weeks, two birthdays
This week's #TICOTuesday pays tribute to the man who literally wrote the book on transit in Phoenix (1887-1948).
This Sunday, July 24, would have marked the 84th birthday Lawrence J. Fleming's, author of Ride a Mile and Smile the While : a history of the Phoenix Street Railway, 1887-1948. Although he passed away in 2013, we thought it would be a good idea to pay a small, but deserving tribute to Mr. Fleming - a transit enthusiast.
Happy Birthday Mr. Fleming - from Tico and all his friends at Phoenix Public Transit.
Happy Birthday RAPID
Normally #TICOTuesday is on a Tuesday, but we thought we would break from the norm to celebrate the 13th birthday of the I-10E and SR51 RAPID routes.
On Monday, July 14, 2003 the Phoenix Transit Department and Valley Metro welcomed the twins to the Valley's transit world, the two would later be joined by the I-17, I-10W and the two South Mountain RAPIDs (we will celebrate those when it's time).
On the first day of operation, the SR51 and I-10E RAPID routes had 480 boardings between them - today the routes average over 1,200 boardings combined.
Of course the RAPID routes would not continue to be a success without the riders who depend on them for a drive-free commute, and although TICO has never adorned the RAPID bus, he appreciates anyone using transit to get around town.
Scouts on patrol
A group of Valley kids, led by Eagle Scout candidate Kaden Heywood, are spending some time at Phoenix's transit centers to educate riders where they can find heat relief throughout the Valley.
Heywood was joined by Vice Mayor Kate Gallego, Councilman Michael Nowakowski and 30 volunteers of fellow scouts, family and friends to hand out heat relief center maps at Central Station on Tuesday, July 12. Also, in between handing out maps, several of the scouts and their leaders took time to pick up litter around Central Station.
The volunteers will head to Desert Sky Transit Center in west Phoenix and the Ed Pastor Transit Center in south Phoenix as well.
The project is a partnership between the city of Phoenix's Volunteer Office, Office of Emergency Management and Resilience AmeriCorps team. For more details about the program and where to find heat relief phoenix.gov/heat.
What a waste
Whenever one of our bus stops is damaged our crew acts quickly to make repairs and get the bus stop back into working order. Here are some photos of one of the more recent accidents that happened at the bus stop near the intersection of McDowell Road and 55th Avenue. As you can see, the trashcan got "trashed" and the bus shelter needs some touch up paint.
If you ever see a bus stop or shelter damaged anywhere in the Valley Metro region, please call customer service at 602-253-5000 to report the damage and the appropriate personnel will be dispatched to repair it as soon as possible.
The "Big Bus" build
First off, let's get this out of the way, #TICOTuesday got delayed this week to Thursday, but hopefully it's worth the wait. Besides, #TICOTuesday on a Thursday has a ring to it.
Now down to business. This week we thought we would share some pictures of the first bus being built in the city's next order of new buses. New Flyer in St. Cloud, Minn. is currently building a 60-foot articulated bus that will serve as the pilot bus before the rest of the order is filled in 2017. The pilot bus should be completed and arrive this fall, and we plan to share more photos in the future as they are shared with us.
In honor of Flag Day 2016, this week's #TICOTuesday featured a photo from 2006 when the city launched a "flag bus" that serviced a couple routes throughout Phoenix, including Route 1 (Washington and Jefferson streets), which runs near the state capitol. In addition to the photo posted on Twitter, below are some other photos from this "special edition" bus.
Currently Phoenix has over 420 buses operating 47 local routes, as well as 125 Dial-a-Ride vehicles. With the recent passing of Transportiation 2050, those vehicle numbers will rise in the years to come as new routes are added to the service map.
The White Bus
One of the more common questions we get around here at Tico HQ is, "why are the newer buses nearly entirely white?"
Well the answer is pretty simple. Because the Phoenix Public Transit Department allows advertising on its buses, as well as equipped bus shelters, once an advertisement is removed from one of our buses, it is much easier to perform maintainenance on the bus that has just a solid color than it is one with multiple colors underneath the removed ad. As for "why white?" it's a clean color and it's easy for our service contractors to match.
PICTURED: One of our newer buses with a large wrap ad.
In a future #TICOTuesday we will do our best to show a timeline of how the paint schemes of our buses has evolved.
The Red Line
For years the Red Line served as a bus link between northwest Phoenix and downtown Mesa (via downtown Tempe). However, the need for the specialized route went the way of the dodo when light rail was introduced to the Valley. The photos show riders boarding the popular route on Central Avenue and Indian School Road (12/8/99) and a snapshot of the map in the 1999 Bus Book (published in March 1999).
1928 street cars
Every generation experiences it, what's old becomes new. This is also the case with Phoenix transit, because before light rail, and even before buses, street cars roamed the streets of Phoenix. We will delve deeper in future #TICOTuesday entries, but we'll kick off the street car history lesson with this photo, celebrating new street cars being put into service in Phoenix.
This photo kicks off "Chapter VI Rebuilding and Municipal Ownership 1925-1930," from the Ride a Smile... book (mentioned below).
Phoenix public transit in print
Did you know there are two books that have been published that cover the history of transit in Phoenix? Here is the information about both books should you want to check them out from the library (yes, both can be found at Burton Barr Library).
Ride a Mile and Smile the While : a history of the Phoenix Street Railway, 1887-1948 by Lawrence J. Fleming (published in 1977)
History of transit in the Valley of the Sun : a history of public transportation in Phoenix, Arizona, 1887-1989 by Jerry W. Abbitt (published in 1990)
And don't worry if you aren't able to get to the library to check either book out, many of the history factoids that Tico will share on #TICOTuesday will come from one or the other book.
Who is Tico?
No one is 100% certain about Tico's origin story, but those lack of facts only adds to his mystique. As the story is told today, sometime in the mid-1970's Tico first appeared on the front and sides of buses and began his life as the city's transit mascot. How he got his name is now a chapter in the oral history of the Public Transit Department, but it's generally held that Tico was selected from a local kids' contest.
What is Tico?
Sure, the word has various meanings depending on where you come from. However, here in Phoenix, Tico is more than a word. He is a sunglass-wearing sun who is always happy to hop on board transit (and yes, we know a sun who wears sunglasses is a bit of a paradox, but that only adds to his coolness).
In Tico's heyday, it was not uncommon to hear someone say "I gotta catch Tico" on their way to the bus stop.
Where is Tico?
Tico's likeness began being phased out in the late-1980's, but thanks to longtime Tico has found his way back to social media. He will be visiting weekly on #TICOTuesday to share trivia and facts about Phoenix transit.
So get on board and enjoy the ride down memory lane, what's happening today and even a look into the future thanks to Transportation 2050.