UA Celebrates Launch of Sun Link Streetcar
Attention campus commuters: There's a new mode of transportation in town.
After years of anticipation and planning, the Sun Link streetcar transported its first official riders on Friday during its Whistle Stop Tour, which included ribbon-cutting celebrations in each of the five districts served by the streetcar.
Despite the early morning summer heat, a large crowd of UA and Tucson community members turned out to celebrate the launch of the all-electric streetcar. At the Arizona Health Sciences Center stop, at Helen Street and Warren Avenue, onlookers buzzed with anticipation, and when the streetcar turned the corner, it was met with applause, whistles and excited cheers.
Guest speakers at the UA's ribbon-cutting ceremony included President Ann Weaver Hart, Regent Rick Myers, Provost Andrew Comrie, Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and Karen Mlawsky, CEO of the UA Health Network's Hospital Division.
Before the ribbon was cut, Hart thanked those involved with the streetcar's planning and construction. She spoke about the benefit of having an alternative transportation method on campus for UA students and employees, and also talked about how the streetcar will better connect the UA campus with the Tucson community.
"It is going to be wonderful," she said.
Rothschild thanked the UA for being such a valuable partner and playing a central role in the city's economy.
"No partner has been more essential to the streetcar's success than the University of Arizona," Rothschild said, adding that many of the people who live within a quarter-mile of the streetcar route work or study at the UA. "The streetcar will help them get to work or class and bring them home again."
Following the ribbon-cutting ceremonies, riders were able to ride the streetcar for free and celebrate with special events on campus and along the streetcar's route all weekend long. According to the city of Tucson, an estimated 60,000 people rode the streetcar during its opening weekend.
The Sun Link streetcar's 3.9-mile route connects the Arizona Health Sciences Center, the main UA campus, Main Gate Square, Fourth Avenue, downtown Tucson and the Mercado District west of Interstate 10. View a map of the route here (PDF).
UA employees and students interested in riding the streetcar free for 30 days can register for a pass, good for unlimited rides on the Sun Link streetcar and Sun Tran bus system from Aug. 15 through Sept. 14. Register online and the pass will be mailed to you.
In addition, Parking and Transportation Services offers employees a 50 percent discount year-round on SunGO passes, which can be used on Sun Tran buses, the Sun Express, the Sun Shuttle and the Sun Link streetcar. More information is available on the Parking and Transportation Services website.