ALEX bus service is no longer available in areas of northern and western Ahwatukee Foothills because of Phoenix budget cuts, according to city transportation officials.

Starting July 26, the free neighborhood circulator, whose name stands for Ahwatukee Local Explorer, stopped traversing a loop encompassing 48th and 51st streets north of Elliot Road, said Marie Chapple, Public Transit Department spokeswoman.

"Due to the economy ... we lost a lot of revenue," Chapple said.

Service on Chandler Boulevard west of Desert Foothills Parkway also will be eliminated, she said. The route previously traversed Chandler Boulevard to a point west of 17th Avenue.

Chapple said ALEX's budget has been cut from about $761,000 last fiscal year, 2009-10, to about $411,000 this fiscal year, 2010-11.

Another route cut is the RAPID I-10 East service, which runs from a popular park-and-ride situated northwest of 40th Street and Pecos Road in Ahwatukee Foothills to downtown Phoenix. Previously, commuters had to wait only five minutes between buses during peak morning and evening hours, but the interval is slated to increase to 10 minutes, transportation officials have said.

Also, the Local 56 bus route, which traverses Chandler Boulevard from just east of I-10 to Arizona State University's Polytechnic Campus just east of Power Road, will cut service to the Chandler Fashion Center and Chandler Gilbert Community College, according to Chapple.

On weekdays, the bus will no longer run before 5:45 a.m. On Saturdays, the bus will run between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., and on Sundays between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.

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