The much-anticipated streetcar launches Friday
After much anticipation, the Tucson Sun Link Modern Streetcar ribbon-cutting ceremony will be this Friday. Beginning at 7 a.m., the festivities will include 15-minute ribbon cuttings at the Mercado, the UA, Main Gate Square and Fourth Avenue districts. A grand opening will take place on Congress Street and Fifth Avenue at 9 a.m.
Free rides will be available Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Michael Graham, a media representative for Sun Link Streetcars, said he encourages Tucson residents to take advantage of these events.
“There are many options for riders,” Graham said. “Day passes lasting for 24 hours after the first transaction are available for $4, while 30-day passes can be purchased for $28.”
Graham added that these cards can be bought using Visa, MasterCard or exact change. A 1-Day SunGO ticket allows one to ride Sun Link, Sun Tran and select Sun Shuttle routes as well.
The 3.9 mile streetcar route, running from Helen Street and Warren Avenue through Fourth Avenue to downtown, connects major activity centers including the UA and Arizona Health Sciences Center with the downtown business districts on Fourth Avenue and Congress Street. The construction of the streetcar tracks, which lasted from April 2012 to October 2013, created an estimated 1,200 new jobs. Research estimates that 1,500 long-term regional jobs will be created as a result of the streetcar.
Ribbon cutting ceremonies will take place throughout Friday morning for the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar. Passengers may ride for free from Friday until Sunday.
Brayden Lofgreen and Brooke Kasprzyk are two of many Tucson locals who foresee the success of the streetcar in the city. Lofgreen, an employee of The Parlour Frozen Yogurt on Fourth Avenue, said he awaits the effect of the streetcar on business.
“Despite the streetcar, the shops [on Fourth Avenue] will still be there,” Lofgreen said. “The same business that supported these stores before will continue to do so.”
He remains optimistic that the streetcar location on Fourth Avenue will allow for additional business and revenue.
Kasprzyk, a UA student who currently resides off campus, said she sees the streetcar as a positive addition to Tucson. Despite being disappointed that the free-of-charge downtown CatTran was replaced with the streetcar, she describes the streetcar as convenient and efficient, and said she plans to make great use of the community transportation.