Sun Link should offer one-way tickets

Sun Link modern streetcar, courtesy of Donovan Dean Durband
Sun Link modern streetcar, courtesy of Donovan Dean Durband

Now that the Sun Link modern streetcar has been operating for almost 4 months, I’m suggesting that some change is needed.  Operations started on July 25, 2014, with the first 3 days of riding for free.

People have been complaining of no one-way passes/tickets.  Not everyone who rides the 4 mile route needs a round trip one day (24 hour) pass, which costs $4 at the kiosks.

Offering one way passes at the Sun Link station kiosks would encourage ridership by people who would use it one way to get somewhere. Currently people who want a one way trip realize it costs $4, so they are opting out.  There is no option to buy a one-way pass at the kiosks.

A one-way ticket for $1.50 or $2 would be highly beneficial for students (who don’t usually have a lot of extra money), new riders, families.  I’ve ridden Sun Link a number of times and have encountered frustrated riders who desire one-way tickets. Even walkers in the All Souls Procession on Nov. 9 needed one-way tickets back to the 6th Avenue/6th Street start-up point, where many had left their cars/trucks/bikes.

Offering one-way passes may help families save some money. For example, a family of four on a day trip in town would have to pay $16 to ride both ways under the current system,  but with one-way passes would pay only $6 – $8,  then could choose to walk back to save some $.  AZ Daily Star columnist Tim Steller and his family encountered this problem just recently:

As for me, who rides Sun Tran buses, even a round trip on the bus is cheaper than
Sun Link.  I pay $1.50 cash both ways ($3 round trip) so I choose Sun Tran to go downtown.  I can easily purchase a one-way ticket (with cash) on the Sun Tran bus from the driver, but I can’t purchase a one-way ticket for Sun Link, which doesn’t seem consistent. Plus people can be spontaneous on Sun Tran as anyone can buy a ticket one way for cash, without a Sun Go pre-paid pass.

Sun Link is a brand new means of public transportation in Tucson, and thereby needs ridership to increase from the current levels.  Making it more user-friendly for all types of riders would greatly improve its present image and capability.

I understand that there is no streetcar operator to collect fares on board, and that the kiosk machines probably cannot be altered at this stage, but I’m optimistic that something can be done to change this current system.  Maybe a 2nd smaller machine that just sells one way tickets?

More info about Sun Link at:



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Carolyn Classen
Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, (since Jan. 2013).


  1. Response from Michael Graham of Sun Link: “TDOT is working with businesses along the entire alignment to sell SunGo cards that allow for stored value to be used as one-way passes and we are also in the development phase of a mobile phone app that will allow for paying for one-way passes on smart phones”.

    Carolyn’s note: Hope this works for people who need one-way passes, as long as riders can get them easily. Stay tuned.

  2. Someone on Tim Steller’s FB page has suggested single one-way tickets sold by the businesses along the 4 mile route — might help Sun Link be more user friendly to all.

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