Tucson residents respond to potential Sun Tran changes

Changes are being proposed to local transit services that could impact routes throughout the area.
Published: Sep. 4, 2023 at 5:43 PM MST|Updated: Sep. 4, 2023 at 7:46 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Changes are being proposed to local transit services that could impact routes throughout the area.

The proposal is part of Sun Tran’s Comprehensive Operational Analysis (COA). The goal is to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and equity of current travel options in and around Tucson.

Potential changes include increasing the frequency of route pickups, extending service hours, and adding more weekend pickups. It also includes adjusted routes and, in at least one case, the complete removal of them.

One of the routes on the chopping block would be Route 5… which runs along Pima and Speedway.

13 News spoke to two frequent bus riders, Meg Johnson and Susan Wenberg, who have been using Route 5 for years. Both say these proposals could create challenges now and in the future.

Johnson has been riding Sun Tran buses for decades.

“If they don’t have the budget to make the improvements they want without doing away with bus Route 5 and some of the other neighborhood collector routes, I think they shouldn’t do it,” Johnson said. “I moved here originally because I wanted to take the bus to the University of Arizona and I ended up staying here because this route is the entry to services on both the east and west sides.”

Wenberg shares her concerns.

“Route 5 is very important to me right now,” Wenberg said. “In fact, I think it may be much more important as time goes on and I lose my ability to drive. Three of my doctors are right along Pima Street and the only way to get there on public transportation would be Route 5.”

If this proposal is approved, it would mean a long walk for Wenberg, in weather that can be dangerous.

“It is a half mile in any direction to get to a bus. North, South, East, or West. There’s a bus, but it’s a half mile away and there’s a number of intersections like that where it’s a long way to go in the heat or carrying groceries.”

It’s important to note that both Johnson and Wenberg like these proposals, just not removing routes.

“I really liked the COA draft plan mostly, aside from the part of getting rid of Route 5, 1, and perhaps Route 3, but I’m most familiar with Route 5. Aside from that, the idea of extended hours and more frequent bus times is great.”

Sun Tran has a survey available for you to share your opinion of the proposals. You can find that survey HERE. The last day to fill it out is Friday, Sept. 8.