Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

Between cities and across zip codes: a guide to getting around ASU

ASU's Valley-wide presence means that staff and students alike can turn to public transit and University transportation to get across and beyond campus

Community-Transportation-Guide-ASU -steel-08312023.jpg

The new Tempe Streetcar in transit for the first time on Apache Blvd. on Friday, May 20, 2022.

With four campuses spread out and located in different cities and zip codes around Arizona, transportation is essential for students getting around, and luckily it is all interconnected.  

Students have various options of travel located close to their campuses including ASU campus shuttles, Valley Metro Light Rail, Tempe Streetcar and even a student-run transport system called Zen Shuttle. 

Campus shuttles

The University provides four shuttle routes for students, staff and faculty. 

These shuttles, operated by Arrow Stage Lines, travel to all four Valley campuses. The schedule for days and times of operation can be found below, but University observed holidays and other special hours can be seen on the campus shuttle website.

To have access to these shuttles, all a rider needs is their ASU ID card. 

There is also a shuttle tracker link accessible on a phone or computer through the ASU app or MyASU website. Riders can promptly check when their bus is arriving or departing and if traffic or other delays are playing a factor. 

Shan Sma is a sophomore at ASU studying computer science who lives close to the West campus, so he utilizes the shuttle to his advantage and avoids a parking pass. 

"They have (air conditioning), they have Wi-Fi, and they have (tray tables), so I usually get work done as well," Sma said. "So it doesn’t feel like i’m wasting time." 

These shuttles can also store riders' bikes, skateboards, and scooters under the shuttle until they get to their final destination. 

Mercado Route: 

The route runs Monday through Friday with the first departure at 6:30 a.m. and the last at 8:35 p.m. This route departs every hour throughout the weekdays but has no weekend service.

Polytechnic-Tempe Route: 

The route runs Monday through Friday with the first departure at 6 a.m. to the last stop at 11:40 p.m. Also known as the “Gold Route,” it departs every 15 minutes throughout the weekdays, and on weekends it departs every two hours and operates with the first departure from 8 a.m. to the last stop at 8:10 p.m. 

Tempe-Downtown Phoenix-West Route: 

The route runs Monday through Friday with the first departure at 6 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. being the last stop. Also known as the “Maroon Route,” it departs every 15 minutes throughout the weekdays and every two hours on the weekend with the first departure from 8 a.m. to the last at 8 p.m. 

Tempe-West Express: 

The route runs Monday through Friday with the first departure at 6:50 a.m. to the last at 5:50 p.m. It departs every hour on the weekdays, but has no weekend service. 

Valley Metro Light Rail

The light rail is a 28-mile public transportation service that runs through central Phoenix to downtown Mesa and Tempe. 

Some of these stops are located on the Downtown Phoenix campus and Tempe campus. 

The light rail costs $2 for a single ride and $4 for an all-day pass. From the Downtown and Tempe campuses, riders can access the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, Mill Avenue in Tempe and downtown Mesa. 

According to Brittany Hoffman, a public information officer for Valley Metro, the University and Valley Metro have a “U-Pass" available for ASU students to purchase. The U-pass is $150 for the academic year and can be purchased through ASU Parking and Transit Services. With the pass, students have unlimited rides for the school year. 

The U-pass cost averages around $0.55 daily, making it an affordable and sustainable mode of travel around Maricopa County and University campuses, according to Hoffman. 

The Valley Metro website has all the information about traveling on the light rail, downloading the mobile phone app and storing a virtual U-pass.

READ MORE: Tempe transportation needs to innovate; an auto shuttle would help 

Tempe Streetcar 

The Valley Metro Tempe Streetcar is a newer transport service that opened in May 2022. The Streetcar is three miles long with stops along downtown Tempe, University campus, Rio Salado Parkway and Apache Boulevard every 15 to 20 minutes. 

Luisa Ibanez, a junior studying justice studies, takes the Streetcar to get to classes from her dorm. 

"I use it everyday and I'm not as exhausted going to class, especially in this Arizona heat," Ibanez said.

According to data from Valley Metro, Ibanez is not alone. During the academic year, 75% of streetcar riders are either full or part-time students in university classes.

Riders can access the map and schedules on the Valley Metro app to track their ride on their phone and can find further information on the Valley Metro website under Tempe Streetcar.

According to Hoffman, the Streetcar remains free until further notice, but riders will be notified in advance when a fare will be implemented. 

Zen Shuttle

Zen Shuttle is a student-run transportation service primarily for University students and staff. 

The electric golf cart has a two-mile route in Tempe that can hold up to five passengers. 

The initial booking fee varies from $3 to $6 depending on how busy the shuttle is. Each added rider per trip can add $1 to $2 for that ride. Riders can purchase a weekly pass for $9.99. 

There is also a "Peace Pass" membership that gives regular Zen Shuttle riders access to discounts.The Peace Pass membership initially costs $4.99 per week. 

The shuttles operation hours are Sundays, Wednesdays and Mondays from 10 a.m to 12 a.m. and Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m to 2 a.m.

The Zen head of business development, Antoine Mistico, a student studying technological entrepreneurship, says the drivers for Zen are all ASU students and the company is looking to expand their operations with more vehicles.

"Our goal is to bring the community together as they are taking rides and making the rider’s experience better," Mistico said. 

To find more information, check out the Zen Shuttle website and download the mobile app for booking rides. 

Disability Access and Resources Transportation

For students who need assistance traveling around their respective campuses, a DART cart can be requested after students are approved for the service. Rides are available from dorms to academic buildings and across campus if needed.

The Tempe DART runs from 7:10 a.m. to 6:45 p.m., and services on the Downtown, Polytechnic and West Campuses run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To apply for the DART service, fill out this application. 

Edited by Grey Gartin, Sadie Buggle and Caera Learmonth.

Reach the reporter at and follow @CacalMaile on X. 

Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on X.

Continue supporting student journalism and donate to The State Press today.

Subscribe to Pressing Matters



This website uses cookies to make your experience better and easier. By using this website you consent to our use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie Policy.