PTS Partners With Sun Tran to Promote New SunGO Passes

PTS Partners With Sun Tran to Promote New SunGO Passes

By Amanda BallardUniversity Communications
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UA employees and students who ride Sun Tran can purchase discounted SunGO passes through PTS.
UA employees and students who ride Sun Tran can purchase discounted SunGO passes through PTS.
SunGO cards utilize built-in computer chips that are able to store the cash value of passes and make for easier boarding.
SunGO cards utilize built-in computer chips that are able to store the cash value of passes and make for easier boarding.

University of Arizona employees and students who purchase discounted Sun Tran passes have until Thursday to get their new SunGO cards, part of a new smartcard system that makes paying, boarding and transferring easier for riders.

Sun Tran rolled out the SunGO system – which allows riders to use a smartcard instead of cash to pay their fare – on June 30. UA bus riders who had been using the discounted U-Passes offered through Parking and Transportation Services will now buy SunGO passes instead. The discount – 50 percent – will remain the same. The cards can be purchased at PTS.

Sun Tran "is very popular here among employees at the UA," said Bill Davidson, public information and marketing manager for PTS. "The SunGO pass gives you unlimited rides everywhere Sun Tran goes on weekdays and weekends and at half the price when purchased through PTS."

He noted that 12 bus lines serve main campus.

Rather than offering paper passes, the SunGO program uses more durable plastic cards equipped with a small computer chip that stores the cash value of the pass. The smart card technology system with SunGO enables riders to simply tap their card on the fare box. This means that passengers can get on board quicker and buses can keep on schedule consequently.

It also enables users to access benefits when the card is registered on the Sun Tran website. Once registered, the balance on the account is protected if the card is reported lost or stolen – a feature that was not an option with U-Passes.

Other benefits of card registration include an auto-buy system that can automatically transfer funds to a SunGO account on a regular basis. Registered SunGO cardholders also receive a one-ride safety net, allowing them one ride if they do not have enough cash or a valid pass loaded onto their card. The card must be reloaded to cover the free ride and next ride before it can be used again.

When the system was launched, many riders reported problems using the cards. Kandi Young, communications manager for Sun Tran, said that many of the issues have been fixed and the Sun Tran staff is continuing to work with the SunGO vendor to address any issues that arise.

"If a passenger boards the bus and their SunGO product doesn’t work properly, the driver is giving them the benefit of the doubt and letting them ride," Young said.

If a customer is experiencing problems with a pass, Young recommends calling 792-9222 to explain in detail the problems they are having. "This will help us ensure that we address all problems in a timely manner," she said.

For those who commute to the University and don’t want to worry about rising gas prices or auto maintenance, Davidson says he recommends Sun Tran as a good alternative that can be combined with other transportation modes.

"Sun Tran is a great alternative transportation option to get to and from campus," he said. "Once on campus, Sun Tran can be used in conjunction with alternative transportation programs to get around campus, like biking, car sharing or park-and-ride lots."

UA employees and students can purchase discounted SunGO cards at Parking and Transportation Services, 1117 E. Sixth St.

Five types of discounted passes are available:

  • Fall Semester Pass $87 (valid Aug. 1, 2013, through Dec. 31, 2013)
  • Fall Semester Express Pass $115 (valid Aug. 1, 2013, through Dec. 31, 2013)
  • Annual Pass $207 (valid Aug. 1, 2013, through July 31, 2014)
  • Annual Express Pass $275 (valid Aug. 1, 2013, through July 31, 2014)
  • Monthly SunGO Pass $42

Express passes can be used on regular Sun Tran routes 1-99 or on Sun Express Service. Fall semester passes must be purchased by Oct. 15 and annual passes by Oct. 30. SunGO passes are good for travel on Sun Tran, Sun Express, Sun Shuttle and will be usable on the Sun Link modern streetcar upon its completion.

More information can be found on the PTS website, Sun Tran website, or by calling PTS at 626-7275.

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