Take advantage of free passes
The Sun Link Tucson Modern Streetcar, known as the Sun Link, is offering free 30-day passes to UA students and faculty from Aug. 15 to Sept. 14 through a partnership between the university and the Sun Link.
The Sun Link is a streetcar that runs on electricity from Warren and Helen, through the UA and down through Mercado, connecting the UA community to the local community. It’s a four-mile track with a streetcar at each stop at 10-30 minute intervals. The free pass is beneficial to students living off campus. Meghan Witteman, a philosophy, politics, economics and law sophomore, said this is her first year living off campus. She is ecstatic that she doesn’t have to either pay for a parking pass or walk in the Tucson heat to her classes. She said she can’t wait to try out the streetcar for a free month and that she was planning on paying for the Sun Link anyway.
“It’s a wonderful idea,” Witteman said. “I think if everyone tries it for a month, they could discover that they really like it and it could decrease U of A’s carbon footprint. It stops pretty often too, so it’s super convenient.”
Not all students at the university are as excited as Witteman. Communications junior Kaeli Johnson also lives off campus, and while she utilized the free pass, she doesn’t plan on using the streetcar often.
Tucsonans boarded the new Sun Link Tucson Modern Streetcar at the University Boulevard and Tyndall Avenue stop on July 25. Free 30-day passes are currently available to UA students and faculty.
“I kind of think it’s a waste of money for how short it is,” Johnson said about the four-mile track. “It honestly just seems like it’s catering more toward Greek Life, because it starts near the sorority houses and ends at the bars.”
The Sun Link’s route attempts to tie in as much of the UA community as it can, while still being efficient for students like Johnson and Witteman, and to students like undeclared freshman Charlotte Walk, who live in the dorms.
Walk took advantage of the month-long free pass and said that she plans on using the streetcar to do some “sightseeing downtown,” and that the free pass may convince her to purchase a pass. She understands how the streetcar might cause a little more traffic, but said she is excited and that she thinks the positives outweigh the negatives.
“[The Sun Link] is an [ingenious] way to offer transportation where streets and lots are already packed enough with people and cars,” Walk said. “Hopefully it’s a step in the right direction for improving Tucson’s public transit system overall.”
Microbiology junior Kylie Boardman didn’t apply for the free pass, but said she hopes to use the Sun Link and that the eco-friendly streetcar would make a positive impact on the district as a whole.
Ignoring the dispute on whether or not the Sun Link should exist, the 30-day pass appears to be a hit. Students and faculty are already taking advantage of the free transportation. Students living in some off-campus housing can enjoy free rides to school, as the Sun Link stops near The Cadence, The District, Tucson Next Level and The Junction at Ironhorse.
Follow Christianna Silva @christianna_j