University of Arizona students can ride the Sun Link Tucson Modern Streetcar for free until the end of this year.
In June, the Tucson City Council extended the suspension of fares for all Sun Tran services, including the Sun Link streetcar. The streetcar runs through the UA and is frequently used by students to get across campus and to downtown Tucson.
Fares were suspended in March 2020 in order to “avoid crowding at the fare box” and mitigate the financial burden of the COVID-19 pandemic for Tucson commuters, according to a Sun Tran news release. The city used federal CARES Act funding to support the fare suspension.
At the most recent budget meeting, the city council reaffirmed its commitment to keeping Sun Tran services free.
Sun Link’s year-to-date ridership nearly tripled compared to last year. Over 1.2 million (non-unique) riders took the streetcar since the beginning of 2022; this time last year, almost 400,000 riders took the Sun Link.
The significant difference in ridership can be explained by the drop in COVID-19 transmission in Pima County. The Sun Tran lifted its mask requirement on all public transit in mid-April.
The Sun Tran is Tucson’s public transit system which consists primarily of a fleet of 253 buses servicing 29 routes through Tucson, the Tohono O’Odham Nation, Pasqua Yaqui Tribe and Pima County, according to the Sun Tran website. The Sun Link streetcar began operating in 2014 and was the “most complex transportation construction project in the history of Tucson.”
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