Transit Resources

How would you like to have an extra $1,000?

Transit

That's how much you could save in a year by giving your vehicle a rest and using transit for your commutes. And you would also eliminate hundreds of pounds of air pollution to help keep our air healthy to breathe. You might also establish long-lasting friendships, have a more stress-free commute, and feel more relaxed.

AAA estimates the average cost of owning a vehicle is roughly $9,000 a year. Find out how much you can save each year by commuting by transit. Sun Tran services more than 20 million passenger trips each year. The busses are clean-fueled vehicles using compressed natural gas, biodiesel, or biodiesel/electric hybrid, which reduces pollutants significantly. Between 300-400 Pima County employees currently purchase bus passes, taking advantage of the 50% subsidy that Pima County offers its employees. Contact Sun Tran at 520.792.9222 or www.suntran.com with transit questions or to plan your trip.

Learn about transit plans and resources on the Pima Association of Governments' Transit webpage. 

Frequent Transit Network

Sun Tran has 11 routes that run every 15 minutes or less that make your travel times more convenient. See if routes 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 15, 16, 18, 34 or the Sun Link Streetcar can work for you using Sun Tran’s trip planning feature.

Sun Express Busses

These busses are made for commuters. On each express route, there are three or four busses that run during commute times in the morning and afternoon. Expresses have fewer stops, so you get to your destination faster. The busses are nicer, too, with cushioned seats throughout and many of them even recline! Nine express busses serve downtown Tucson from/to eastside, north, and northwest locations.

Park & Ride Lots

These parking lots (or sections of parking lots) are free and designated especially for those who do not live close to a bus stop, but would like to take advantage of the benefits of riding transit.

Is it Worth Riding the Bus?

Only you can answer that for yourself, but be sure to compare all the pros and cons before making your decision. Ask yourself:

  • How much time does it take me to ride the bus compared with driving?  It probably takes more clock time to ride the bus than to drive your car to work, but you might find that a bus ride actually gives you more personal time. You cannot read, text, relax, or visit with bus buddies when you drive alone, but you can do all these things on a bus ride.
  • How much does driving cost me compared to taking transit?  The 50% subsidy afforded to Pima County employees means we only pay $24/$32 per month for regular/express route passes. Parking in a parking garage costs $70 per month. Surface lots in the downtown area cost $4-$8 per day. Add that up over a year and transit might be looking pretty good! The AAA says we spend between $12-$18 every day to own and operate our vehicles, so even if you’re lucky enough to not have to pay for parking, there are other vehicle expenses to consider.
  • How does taking transit or driving in my car affect my health and wellness? Taking the bus can reduce your stress levels associated with inconsiderate drivers and delays due to traffic congestion and road construction. It also increases the likelihood of you meeting the recommended daily minutes of moderate physical activity. Driving in a car also produces harmful vehicle emissions and exposes you (and the community) to that pollution. Busses do pollute, but Sun Tran’s cleaner-fueled busses pollute far less than if everyone riding the bus drove personal vehicles instead.

Transit Subsidy Saves Pima County Employees Money

50% Subsidy for 30-Day Transit Passes

Sun Tran and Pima County are working together to save employees money and make it more convenient to purchase bus passes. Pima County offers a 50% subsidy on the total cost of the pass, which will work on the regular and express busses, Sun Link Streetcar and Sun Shuttle vehicles.

Full Fare: $24 Employee Cost + $24 County Subsidy = $48
Express Fare: $32 Employee Cost + $32 County Subsidy = $64

Employees can sign up for the SunGO Smart Card through Human Resources. Pretax payroll deductions will be available, and the card will be automatically reloaded each month after your payroll deduction has been made.

You will need to register your SunGO card on the Sun Tran website when you receive it. One-time registration will provide you with loss protection and the ability for the County to automatically reload your card after payroll deduction. The SunGO cards last about four years with proper care. If you have any questions, please e-mail HRBenefits@pima.gov.
 

Making Transit More Convenient

On-line Tool Eases Your Commute

Learn more about what’s happening along your travel route by visiting www.TransView.org, a traveler information website that provides information on regional traffic incidents, construction updates and weather radar from the National Weather Service. Pima Association of Governments provides the information as a public service using data collected from local department of transportation crews, contractors and local police dispatch systems, and through partnerships with other agencies and public transportation entities.

There's an App for That

Sun Tran has tools for smart phone users. For trip planning and next departure times, use the Tucson Sun Tran or the Tucson Transit apps. For trip planning and next departure times on Sun Link only, use the Tucson Streetcar app. These apps can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play. Trip planning is also available at Google Maps. Click on Directions, then on the transit icon. To plan a trip on Sun Tran, Sun Link or Sun Shuttle, you can also phone (520) 792-9222.

Don't Live Near a Bus Route? Use Sun Tran Park & Ride Lots

Park & Ride Lots can make commutes easier. Drivers can park their vehicles at designated lots and continue their commute by bus. Check out the system-wide transit map and the Ride Guide to see where Park & Ride lots are located and what route(s) you can take to your destination.

Take Your Bike With You

Riding your bike part way? Bike racks are at the front of the bus so you can take your bike with you. There is only room enough for two bikes, however. If you have a foldable bike, you could bring it with you on the inside of the bus.
 

Time to Replace Your SunGO Card?

If you purchased your current SunGO card when they first came out four years ago, it should be due for replacement as the components in the card deteriorate over time. If you’ve registered your card with Sun Tran, (highly recommended) go to

Manage SunGO Card

 on their website to see when your card expires.

 

Steps to set up a new SunGO card:

  1. Purchase a new card for $2 at any location the SunGO cards are sold (Downtown location map here.)
  2. Call HR records at 724-8291 to set up the 50% subsidy and automatic payroll deductions toward your new card. You will need to give them the number located at the bottom right on the back of the card.
  3. Call Sun Tran at 792-9222 and ask to speak with a SunGO Smart Card Technician. Give them your old and new card numbers so they can transfer any value on the old card to the new card.
  4. Register your card on the Sun Tran website to protect the value on your card. If you lose your card at some point, you can transfer any value remaining to a new card.

Thank you for your continued use of transit for work commutes. In addition to saving money on transportation, you’re also helping reduce air pollution and traffic congestion and making our air healthier to breathe!

SunLink Streetcar Linking Downtown, 4th Avenue and the UofA

See if you can use the Sun Link Streetcar for your work commutes, running errands, entertaining a wider array of lunchtime choices, etc. without having to sit behind the wheel of your car. The four-mile route connects the UofA campus, 4th Avenue, Downtown and the Mercado west of I-10.The 30-day subsidized SunGO cards available to Pima County employees will work on Sun Link at no additional charge. If you do not have a SunGO card, you can purchase a cash value pass that will deduct $1.50 per ride or purchase a 1-day pass for $4 at the vending machines found at each Sun Link stop. Check out this map to see where the Sun Link stops are and what bus route connections you can take to make your trips easier.

Learn About Streetcar Safety

Sun Link's "Be Street-Smart" educational safety campaign is an ongoing effort to educate citizens about the streetcar's presence and how to be safe around the tracks. Watch the safety videos. A few quick reminders to keep bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers safe:

  • Drivers: Be alert and stay focused.
  • Green bike boxes are cyclist zones. Motorists should not stop on them.
  • No right hand turn on red at green bike boxes.
  • Bicyclists should cross tracks as close to a right angle as possible.
  • Pedestrians should use designated crosswalks and step over, not on tracks

Sun Shuttle Reaches Outlying Areas

Live out of Sun Tran’s range? Tired of wasting time during your commute and putting a lot of miles on your car? There might be a shuttle you can catch from outlying areas to take you where you need to go. The Sun Shuttle serves Sahuarita, Green Valley, Marana, Oro Valley, Catalina, San Xavier, Tucson Estates and Ajo. The shuttle will take you from these towns and bring you to stations in Tucson such as the Ronstadt, Roy Laos, or Tohono Tadai transit centers, where you can reach your destination or catch a bus to travel onward. When you commute by Sun Shuttle, you save money and can use the time to catch up on emails, read the latest mystery, or just relax instead of driving yourself.

Check the schedules to see what might work for you. Sahuarita residents, for example, can choose from six stops to pick up a shuttle that will take you to downtown Tucson. Leave Sahuarita Town Hall at 7:02am and arrive downtown by 7:50. You can use your 30-day Pima County subsidized SunGO card on the regular Sun Shuttle service routes at the same rate as regular Sun Tran routes ($1.50 one-way).

Voices on Taking Transit

Lisa C., Human Resources, Summer 2016

I started with the County a little over a year ago. The one thing that I quickly realized was the County offered great incentives that allowed me to do my part in reducing my personal carbon footprint, while saving money. The Express Bus pass was far less expensive than any of the parking garages – and I got to do some good too! Little did I know that the ecology and economics of riding the bus would be overshadowed by what I have come to call my bus family. Because the same people ride the bus day after day, through all kinds of weather and traffic, relationships are born. I have developed some wonderful friendships with the people on the bus I ride and those friendships extend beyond work and the bus ride. I look forward to seeing my bus family and sharing our adventures every day!

Karen W., Environmental Quality, Summer 2016

I've been riding transit for my work commute since 1999! It works great for me MOST days of the week. There are hundreds of other County employees who have been riding Sun Tran for years as well, and there really are some great reasons why we keep riding: saving money on fuel, parking and vehicle maintenance; convenience; making friends and networking; having extra personal time to read or work on projects; avoiding behind-the-wheel stress; being part of community; helping keep the air and environment healthy (my personal favorite); and more. I highly encourage anyone to try it if the transit schedules and routes work with their own. Even if it is only one day a week, you'd still benefit.

IN THE SUMMER OF 2015, Sun Tran was on strike for 42 days.

Here's what a few people said they missed the most about not being able to ride the bus:

Chuo H. - I missed my nap on the bus on way home. I was able to carpool during most of the strike, but we usually talked and it's not nice to fall asleep on the driver. I got my power nap on the bus after the strike ended, and got my life back in order now that I can get my nap on the bus ride home!

Kimberly K. - I missed the opportunity to read my library books. Bus ride time is my reading time. Believe me, I sorely missed catching up on my reading.

Debbi W. - I missed stopping at Starbucks. When I car pool with my brother or bike it’s not convenient to stop at Starbucks. If you’re writing something about what I miss form my private transit trips that would be shopping of all kinds; clothes, food and entertainment.

Mark H. - I usually use the bus ride to catch up on emails and make my “to do” list for the day. On the way home I like to read and visit with friends. I missed the free time I had to do those things. What I will not miss when the strike is over is the extra fuel cost, wear and tear on the pickup, and parking in the dirt lot by Sunlink.

Terri S. - I missed being able to read; having to carpool to work, I was unable to read every day and I was in the middle of a book that I could not finish and now need to try and remember what was going on it 40 some days later. Even though walking was good for me, I also missed getting out in front of the old justice court building and walking across the street to my building.

Valerie C. - I miss talking to the people who don’t work downtown. Those for whom the bus is the only affordable means to get around. Most of them are kind, gentle, caring people who remind me of how fortunate I am to have a ‘good job’.

Annette A. - Pima County Attorney's Office, Fall 2011

I have been utilizing the public transit service since the beginning of my job at the Pima County Attorney’s Office five years ago. I have enjoyed taking the express bus all those years. I have met and made a lot of friends along the way. One person moved and changed his bus route but we keep in touch with our cell phones. It is a very relaxing way to travel to work and home. I love to read, visit, and the daily walk to and from the bus stop is added benefit as well. I have saved so much money by taking the bus and not driving my car, no wear and tear on my car and it looks as new as the day I bought it in 2001. I don’t even have 50,000 miles on it. I don’t have to buy gas often, or pay for parking. I love taking the bus!

Simon H., Office of Cultural Resources & Historic Preservation, Fall 2011

When I joined Pima County in 2005, I drove the 18 mile round trip between home and work, which I soon found to be frustrating, time consuming, and expensive. That’s when I switched to riding Sun Tran’s Express Bus (now numbered 108X). I suddenly found myself with time for reading and, as it turned out, writing. Since early 2006, I have been slowly working on my first novel (a story of drama and romance set in WWII). In the morning on the ride in, I’d write longhand in a spiral notebook, at lunch time I’d eat at my desk and edit what I’d written, then I’d continue the process on the ride home. While it’s taken much longer than I thought, I’m nearly finished with the novel, tentatively titled Wings Over Cairo. Taking the Sun Tran Express Bus continues to provide me with the level of seating comfort and mental focus necessary for the task. After final edits, my next step will be to begin the publishing process – which hopefully won’t take quite as long.

(Wings Over Cairo, was published in September, 2013 by Fireship Press , and is available through Amazon.com. Set in the desperate days of WWII, this historically-based novel is a tale of courage, love, and the struggle to win over adversity. This is what Simon has to say about alternate modes: Using public transportation rather than driving to work, freed-up literally hundreds of hours of time. In my case, I decided to turn this into an opportunity to write a book on a subject that had been fermenting since the mid-1990s. Riding the 108 Express bus gave me about one hour per day, and is one of the reasons it took me eight years to complete. More than anything, it underscores the potential benefits of taking public transportation over a car, when possible. My publisher at Fireship Press has asked me to start a sequel to this historical action and romance novel, and I'm currently working on it.

Debra T., Assessor’s Office, Fall 2011

Why do I take an alternate mode to work? Well, first and foremost to save money on gas, car repairs and parking fees. In today’s economy the amount of bus fare beats out shelling for gas prices, parking fees, and the daily wear and tear on the car. I do have to say that taking the bus (route 101X) has been an experience – a positive one. I have made new friends and met interesting people who have become like family. If one of us has been missing due to illness, vacation, or other modes of transportation - someone finds out and lets the others know. We keep track of each other in a good way. If someone is retiring or having surgery, we have cards going around to be signed, and maybe collect money for flowers or a small gift. We have funny stories to share come Monday and that gets us going for the day, sometimes for the week. We may all work downtown but we don’t all work in the same place. It’s pretty interesting to hear about other people in their jobs. We brainstorm if someone needs help. The alternative mode of transportation was just a trial basis for me, but after trying several routes I have found “the bus” and people worth commuting to work and home with. Someday, many of us plan to write a book of funny situations – hopefully it will be a best seller!

John M., Recorder’s Office, Fall 2011

I use public transportation Monday through Friday. Doing so saves a considerable amount of money in parking and gas not to mention the cost of purchasing and insuring another vehicle simply to commute to work. I also hate to drive and that alone is a good enough incentive to utilize public transportation. I started to use public transportation to commute to work while I lived in Britain. Public transportation is very accessible in the UK and the cost of operating vehicles are very high.