The testing phase for Tucson’s Sun Link Modern Streetcar will be completed by July 25. For the first three days of the service launch, free rides will be offered to everyone.
Students and faculty have the option to opt-in for a free 30-day pass for the transit system through UA Parking and Transportation Services. The pass will be valid from Aug. 15 through Sept. 14.
“For the upcoming opening, we thought it would be a good opportunity to encourage the riding [of the streetcar],” said Carlos de Leon, deputy director for the Tucson Department of Transportation.
Surveys were sent out to UA students asking questions regarding what would encourage them to ride the streetcar. De Leon said the trial period was the most popular response.
Following the free trial period, current UA students, staff and faculty can purchase a SunGO bus pass at a 50 percent discount for the semester. This pass is valid for the streetcar and the buses.
“Some folks may not want to continue [riding], but we estimate a large amount will sign-up [for the SunGO pass],” de Leon said.
In the past, about 3,000 people have taken advantage of the SunGO pass. The Sun Link company estimates the amount of passes sold could rise to 6,000.
According to a case study done by the Cincinnati Metro, the first new streetcar system since World War II was launched in 2001 in Portland. Since then, similar streetcar systems have been popping up in Seattle, Cincinnati and other locations.
At Portland State University, public transit satisfies the majority of student and staff transportation needs. Ian Stude, the director of Transportation and Parking Services at PSU, said that unlike many universities, there is no student fee for the services of the streetcar.
“We would love to have the same kind of system as Portland has for students to ride,” de Leon said.
He also stated that the Sun Link company proposed adding a fee to UA students’ tuition charges, but the UA felt that the system was too new.
“This 30-day pass is a first step,” de Leon said.