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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Tucson buses to raise fares

Cecilia Alvarez
Cecilia Alvarez / The Daily Wildcat The Suntran stops at the University of Arizona mall on March 26, 2014.

Sun Tran is seeking feedback for its proposed fare increases and services changes.

An open house will be held on next Wednesday in the Student Union Memorial Center in the Kiva Room to discuss the changes. Following a short information session, students and faculty will be encouraged to ask questions and submit a feedback form regarding the proposed changes. An online survey is also available to those who cannot attend the event.

Bill Davidson, manager of public information and marketing at Parking and Transportation Services at UA, stresses the importance of students and faculty giving feedback because about 3,000 users have purchased annual passes from PTS.

The documents of proposed service changes and fare increases are available on the Sun Tran website.

Service changes range from the times that the Sun Tran will pick up on certain routes, additional stops and the merging or splitting of specific routes. The document outlines the routes that could experience changes and allows users of Sun Tran to know if their daily route could be affected.

Fare increases appear in another document on the Sun Tran Website which states the current fare, how it will change in the 2015 fiscal year and how it may change in the future up to 2025. Two of the three options would increase full fare rates by $0.25, to $1.75, for 2015. The three options include increases to $2 or more to be implemented by the 2025 fiscal year.

Kandi Young, communications and marketing director at Sun Tran, explains that the mayor and council are likely to choose a mixture of the three options, heavily based on rider feedback.

“The three options include small incremental increases through 2025,” Young said.

To many riders, the proposed changes may seem random, Daividson said, but the transit task force completed a Comprehensive Operational Analysis in Feb. In this analysis, routes and fares were studied thoroughly, on-board surveys of riders were conducted and the Sun Tran was compared to similar transportation in equivalent sized cities that also have a large university.

Transit systems across the nation conduct COA’s every five to seven years, although this has not happened in Tucson since 1997, Young said.

Young said the study encouraged Sun Tran to focus on understanding how ridership has changed since 1997 and on improving the efficiency of the system.

The proposed changes by Sun Tran are all a product of the COA study, Young said, and most of the changes to the routes are only in place to improve efficiency.

Young said she wants students and faculty that use Sun Tran to submit their comments describing how the proposed changes could affect how often they use the Sun Tran. The comments and feedback gathered from the open house and online survey will be submitted to Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and city council for review before proposed changes are effective.

“The university is excited and committed to make this new program successful,” Davidson said. “We want to make sure that the students have the opportunity to give their feedback.”

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