Sun Tran is testing a new door-to-door transit option for riders on the south and west sides of Tucson that may be a perfect option for commuters, those with physical limitations, or anyone with unique travel needs.
Sun On Demand provides shared curb-to-curb rides for individuals traveling within one of two program zones. Curb-to-curb means that riders are picked up and dropped off at the curb in front of the start and stop addresses of their reserved trip.
Riders can make reservations on the same day or one to seven days in advance. Services are provided on a ﬁrst-come, ﬁrst-serve basis. Sun On Demand is accessible to all riders and no special qualifications are required to book a trip.
Zone one’s northern border is Grant Road, and it stretches south to just beyond Alameda Avenue and extends from Silverbell Road to Oracle Road. Some of the anchors are El Rio Health and the El Rio Center, the Boys and Girls Club, St. Mary’s Hospital and Tucson House. In addition, there are several shopping centers and grocery stores in this zone.
Zone two stretches from Broadway Boulevard to Ajo Park to Country Club/36Street. Among the anchors are the El Rio Health Center, Quincy Douglas Center, Banner Hospital, Cherrybell Post Office, Geico and more.
Both zones connect riders to other transit options.
The pilot program was created in November 2020 to accomplish several objectives. With the curb-to-curb option and smaller vehicles, Sun Tran can provide transit in a less invasive way that reaches neighborhood and residential streets.
“We created this in response to eliminating some of the routes in smaller neighborhoods,” said Luz Navarrete, Sun Tran’s Community Outreach Manager. “We were looking at getting rid of the big 40-foot buses going into these small neighborhoods.”
Although the pilot program is confined to the two zones, the on-demand service is more flexible and can go closer to a rider’s home or directly to their destinations. The service is especially convenient for certain riders because they can use it to get from work to a bus stop or to travel to their destinations after getting off at a traditional bus stop.
“We wanted something that is more flexible, and this is definitely more convenient for elderly and disabled riders,” said Navarrete. “Getting picked up at your door and getting dropped off at your door is better than having to walk to a bus stop.”
Currently, the services are offered in the two distinct zones. Each zone was selected due to the number of “anchor” businesses and services, as well as a large amount of housing. “The vehicle will go anywhere within this zone,” said Navarrete. “We really made sure the areas we were focusing on had some big anchors.”
For customer convenience, the Sun On Demand service offers a trip scheduling app at suntran.com/on-demand.