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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Sun Tran stretches service to wee hours

    Elementary education junior Alexandra Norris waits for her bus in front of the Optical Sciences building yesterday evening. Some routes around the UA are now extending hours after receiving requests from students with commitments on campus late at night.
    Elementary education junior Alexandra Norris waits for her bus in front of the Optical Sciences building yesterday evening. Some routes around the UA are now extending hours after receiving requests from students with commitments on campus late at night.

    Tucson’s bus system, Sun Tran, has extended its weekday operating hours due to high demand from Tucson residents and UA students.

    “”We have had a request for many, many years from riders to extend operating hours and we’ve had a desire to, but we had no funding to expand,”” said Michele Joseph, Sun Tran’s marketing director.

    Sun Tran is extending operating hours on eight routes, with four routes around the UA, Joseph said.

    The routes around the UA that have extended operating hours until 11 p.m. or midnight in some routes are Route 3, East Sixth Street and North Wilmot Avenue; Route 4, East Speedway Boulevard; Route 6, South Park Avenue and North First Avenue; and Route 9, East Grant Road.

    All routes only go beyond the normal operating hours on weekdays, and Route 4 is the only route that runs until midnight.

    Implementation of the extended operating hours began Feb. 19 and were focused on the most popular routes, Joseph said.

    “”These four routes help students that have night school and who have work right after, but have trouble getting home because the busses have stopped operating,”” Joseph said.

    Sun Tran is hoping to extend hours for all routes in the next three to nine months with additional extended weekend hours, as part of the Regional Transportation Authority’s 20-year $2.1 billion regional transportation plan that was passed last year.

    The RTA plan devotes $534 million to transit plans and will continually, during 20 years, add on to different transit plans, said Sheila Storm, communications director for Regional Transportation Authority.

    Students will have the opportunity to study longer and become more involved on campus now that transportation home or to their car is ensured.

    “”Sun Tran allowing busses to run later allows for student participation in campus activities a lot more,”” said Kharisma Montes de Oca, marketing and development coordinator for Off-Campus Housing. “”It is definitely a benefit for students.””

    Sun Tran is not the only alternative mode of transportation providing longer operating hours.

    CatTran extended hours earlier this year into a new route called the NightCat, a free service that runs from 6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

    “”A lot of students have night classes and we wanted to extend this service to these students,”” said David Heineking, associate director for Parking and Transportation Services.

    The circulatory route makes stops at key UA locations, such as the Student Union Memorial Center, Highland Commons, the Main Library and the “”Swede”” Johnson building.

    The route begins at the Arizona Health Sciences Center every half hour and makes 14 loops per night, Heineking said.

    Heineking said the NightCat has garnered favorable responses since its inception.

    “”We have quite a few riders that use it daily and enjoy it and we expect rider-ship to grow,”” Heineking said.

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