Sun Link
OwnerCity of Tucson
LocaleTucson, Arizona, United States
Coordinates32°13′40″N 110°57′56″W / 32.2277°N 110.9656°W / 32.2277; -110.9656
TerminiArizona Health Sciences Center
Mercado District
Stations21 (17 per direction)
Operator(s)RATP Dev
Rolling stockUnited Streetcar 200 (8 cars)[1][2]
Daily ridership3,039[3]
OpenedJuly 25, 2014[4][5]
Line length3.9 miles (6.3 km)[6]
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Electrification750 V DC overhead wire[7]
Route diagram

Helen & Warren
Speedway Blvd.
2nd St. & Cherry
2nd St. & Highland
2nd St. & Olive
University & Tyndall
University & 3rd Ave.
4th Ave. & 5th St.
4th Ave. & 7th St.
Maintenance & Operations
4th Ave. & 9th St.
Toole & 4th Ave.
Congress/Broadway & 6th Ave.
Congress/Broadway & Stone
Congress/Broadway & Church
Congress & Granada
Granada & Cushing
Cushing & Frontage
Cushing & Convento
Convento & Congress

Sun Link, also known as the Tucson Streetcar, is a single-line streetcar system in Tucson, Arizona, United States, that began service in July 2014.[4][5][8] The system's 3.9-mile (6.3 km) route connects the Arizona Health Sciences Center (including University Medical Center), the University of Arizona campus, the Main Gate and 4th Avenue shopping and entertainment districts, downtown Tucson, the Tucson Convention Center, and the Mercado District under development west of Interstate 10.[6][9] The streetcar project's overall cost of $196 million was met through a combination of local funding sources and federal grants.[10][11] The streetcar shares a common payment system with the Sun Tran regional bus service.[12]


In May 2006 Pima County voters approved a $2.1 billion, 20-year regional transportation plan which included $75 million toward construction of a modern streetcar and an additional $12.7 million toward its operation.[citation needed] In December 2010, a $63 million federal TIGER grant was awarded to the City of Tucson, meeting most of the remaining funding gap and allowing the project to move forward. An additional $6 million of federal funding was obtained through the Federal Transit Administration's New Starts program. Funding also came from utilities for relocation and improvements along the streetcar route, most significantly $10.6 million from Tucson Water.[11][13]


Sun Link streetcar stop
Sun Link streetcar stop

A $56 million contract for removal of existing roadway, utility relocation, installation of track, resurfacing, and construction of the system's 21 covered, accessible stops was awarded to Old Pueblo Trackworks, a joint venture of Granite Construction and RailWorks Track Systems, in March 2012.[14] Construction began in April 2012 and continued through summer 2013.[15] The first phase addressed straight sections of the route east of the Congress and Granada stop and required rolling closures of sections of Congress Street, Broadway Boulevard, 4th Avenue, University Boulevard, 2nd Street, the Warren Avenue underpass, and Helen Street.[16] Phase two began in November 2012 and included all work west of the convention center, corner sections requiring fabrication of curved track elements, and additional work on Broadway and the Warren underpass.[9]

A 320-foot (98 m) bridge across the Santa Cruz serving streetcar, automobile, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic was constructed in 2012 under a separate contract. Named for former Tucson city manager Luis G. Gutierrez, the bridge extends Cushing Street from the I-10 frontage road to Avenida del Convento, providing a link between the Tucson Convention Center and the Mercado District.[17]

Construction of the Sun Link Operations & Maintenance Facility, an $8 million depot centered on the system route at 5th Avenue and 8th Street, began in May 2012.[10][18] A public open house celebrating its completion and delivery of the first streetcar was held on September 6, 2013, with speeches from officials including Tucson mayor Jonathan Rothschild and state senator Steve Farley, a longtime advocate of the streetcar.[19][20]


A Tucson Sun Link streetcar at the 3rd and University station.
A Tucson Sun Link streetcar at the 3rd and University station.

Sun Link maintains a fleet of eight United Streetcar 200s, using up to six cars at once. These are numbered 101 to 108. The streetcar is 66 feet 1 inch (20.13 m) long, double-ended (bi-directional), and articulated into three sections. Its center section floor is at platform height for accessibility with two double-door entrances on each side. Each side has a third passenger door located behind the operator cab. Propulsion is provided by four 90 kW motors drawing power via pantograph from an overhead wire. The streetcar has a maximum speed of 43.5 mph (70 km/h) and a capacity of 156 passengers (29 seated and 127 standing).[21]

The United 200 is largely identical to the 100 model produced for systems in Portland and Washington, D.C., the only major difference being that the 200 is equipped with upgraded air-conditioning.[21] The design of the 100 model itself is based on the Czech-made Škoda 10 T.[22]

Tucson placed a $26 million order with United for seven cars in June 2010.[1] An eighth was ordered for an additional $3.6 million in July 2012 in order to satisfy FTA requirements for a second spare.[2] United's first model 200 car arrived in Tucson by flatbed truck on August 30, 2013.[23] Delays in streetcar production pushed Sun Link's projected start of service from a forecast of late 2013 as of the start of construction to July 2014.[10][11] Tucson officials notified United Streetcar in May 2013 of their intention to assess contractual damages for late delivery.[24][25] United's parent company, Vigor Works, formerly Oregon Iron Works, settled with the city in 2016 for $1.7 million to be paid in additional parts and labor.[26]


Sun Link streetcar
Sun Link streetcar
Mon–Wed Thu-Fri Saturday Sunday
7am–8am 15 15
8am–9am 30 30
9am–10am 10 10
10am–6pm 15 20
6pm–8pm 15 15 30
12am–2am 30 30
Headway in minutes[27]

Weekday service runs every ten minutes during peak hours and every fifteen minutes mornings and evenings. Saturday morning and Sunday service runs every twenty or thirty minutes.[28] Half-hour late-night service provided only while the University of Arizona is in session runs through 2am on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.[29][28] Travel time from one end of the line to the other is approximately 30 minutes.[30]

One-way fare is $1.75, and includes transfer to connecting Sun Tran busses. A SunGO pass or fare card, available at the Ronstadt Transit Center, online, and at various retail locations, must be purchased prior to boarding; payment is not accepted by Sun Link drivers. 24-hour passes are available for $4.50 from ticket vending machines located on all Sun Link platforms, payable either in exact change or by credit. Passengers record payment by scanning fare cards at electronic validators after boarding.[12]

North of the Warren Avenue stop, the streetcar passes under Speedway Boulevard on a single-track line in a dedicated right of way. After reaching its northern terminus at Helen, the car reverses direction. In all but one or two other places along the route, the streetcar operates with traffic.[31]


Districts, connections, & destinations
District Stop Connections Destinations
University Disabled access Warren Avenue & Helen Street
Bus interchange Sun Tran: 4, 5, 15[32]
Bus interchange Cat Tran: Purple, Green[33]
Arizona Health Sciences Center
Warren Avenue Underpass
Disabled access 2nd Street & Cherry Avenue
Bicycle facilities University Bike Blvd.[34]
Bus interchange Cat Tran: Mountain
Hillenbrand Stadium, Flandrau Science Center, McKale Center, Arizona Stadium
Disabled access 2nd Street & Highland Avenue
Bicycle facilities Mountain Avenue Bikeway
Parking 2nd St.[35]
UA Student Union Memorial Center
Disabled access 2nd Street & Olive Road
Bus interchange Cat Tran: USA, Inner Campus
Parking Park Avenue
Center for Creative Photography, UA Museum of Art
Disabled access University Boulevard & Tyndall Avenue Bus interchange Sun Tran: 1, 6
Parking Main Gate, Tyndall Avenue
Centennial Hall, Arizona Historical Society, Arizona State Museum
Disabled access University Boulevard & 3rd Avenue Bicycle facilities University Bike Boulevard Rogue Theatre
Disabled access 4th Avenue & 4th/5th Streets
Bicycle facilities 4th Avenue Bike Blvd.
Disabled access 4th Avenue & 6th/7th Streets
Bus interchange Sun Tran: 3
Disabled access 4th Avenue & 9th Streets
Bicycle facilities Golf Links-Aviation Path
4th Avenue Underpass
Downtown Disabled access Plaza Centro (eastbound only)
Parking Centro Rialto Theatre, Historic Tucson Depot, Southern Arizona Transportation Museum, Hotel Congress
Disabled access Broadway Boulevard & 6th Avenue (eastbound)
Congress Street & 6th Avenue (westbound)
Bus interchange Sun Tran: 1-4, 6-8, 10, 12, 16, 18, 19, 21-23, 25, 421
Bus interchange Sun Express: 102, 103, 105, 107, 109, 110
Amtrak Amtrak: Sunset Ltd., Texas Eagle[35]
Parking Depot Plaza, Pennington St.
Ronstadt Transit Center, Children's Museum Tucson, Armory Park
Disabled access Broadway Boulevard & Stone Avenue (eastbound)
Congress Street & Stone Avenue (westbound) 
Parking Main Library Fox Tucson Theatre, Saint Augustine Cathedral, Joel D. Valdez Main Library, Downtown History Museum, Scottish Rite Cathedral, Temple of Music and Art
Disabled access Broadway Boulevard & Church Avenue (eastbound)
Congress Street & Church Avenue (westbound)
Bus interchange Sun Tran: 1, 2, 6-8, 12, 21, 22, 25 Pima County Courthouse, Presidio San Augustin del Tucson, Tucson City Hall, Tucson Arena, Leo Rich Theatre
Disabled access Congress Street & Granada Avenue Bus interchange Sun Express: 101, 102, 104, 108, 110
Parking Hotel Arizona, City/State
Tucson Music Hall, Sosa-Carrillo-Fremont House, DeConcini Federal Courthouse, Tucson Museum of Art
Disabled access Granada Avenue & Cushing Street
Bicycle facilities Liberty-10th Avenue Bikeway
Greyhound Lines Greyhound[35]
Parking Tucson Convention Center surface lots
Tucson Convention Center
Interstate 10 Underpass
Mercado Disabled access Cushing Street & Frontage Road Bicycle facilities The Loop (Santa Cruz River Park)
Luis Gutierrez Bridge
Disabled access Cushing Street & [Avenida del] Convento (westbound)
Disabled access Convento & Congress Street
Bus interchange Sun Tran: 21, 22 Mercado San Augustin, El Rio Community Health Center

Stops listed from east to west; district names and coloration taken from official Sun Link routemap.[36]

Potential expansion

In late 2019, media reports surfaced that the government of Tucson was looking into options for expanding the streetcar network.[37] The potential expansion could go as far north as Tucson Mall and reach Tucson International Airport south of the city, connecting all three of the city's main transit hubs: Laos, Ronstadt(Downtown), and Tohono Transit Center. As of date, Tucson and South Tucson have requested funding from Federal Transit Administration for a feasibility study, pending approval. So far, no timeline of the project has been announced.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Tucson to United Streetcar: Build seven". Railway Age. June 8, 2010. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  2. ^ a b DaRonco, Darren (July 13, 2012). "Backup streetcar to cost Tucson $3.6M". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved September 27, 2012.
  3. ^ Monthly Operations Report - February 2020
  4. ^ a b "Tucson Streetcar Debuts to Crowds, Hot Weather". Arizona Public Media. Arizona Board of Regents. July 25, 2014. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
  5. ^ a b Taylor, Rebecca (July 26, 2014). "'Tremendous' opening day for Sun Link Streetcar". KVOA. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved July 26, 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Why do we need a streetcar? – The streetcar route". Sun Link Tucson Streetcar. Retrieved July 26, 2014.
  7. ^ "Sun Link Streetcar: A Collaborative Effort". Tucson Electric Power. April 2016. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  8. ^ "Tucson Envisions The Sun Link". Forbes. June 2013. Archived from the original on June 30, 2013. Retrieved June 27, 2013.
  9. ^ a b Barnes, Bethany (March 7, 2012). "Streetcar construction starts in April; here's what you need to know". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
  10. ^ a b c "FTA Quarterly Review - March 2013" (pdf). Sun Link. March 28, 2013. p. 10.
  11. ^ a b c Vitu, Teya. "Streetcar Construction Will Start in Late April", Downtown Tucsonan, March, 2012. Retrieved on April 30, 2012.
  12. ^ a b "SunGO Fare Payment, General Information". Sun Tran. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  13. ^ O'Dell, Rob (December 29, 2010). "US grants Tucson $63M for streetcar". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
  14. ^ Bowen, Douglas John (March 30, 2012). "Joint venture awarded Tucson streetcar contract". Railway Age. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
  15. ^ Seberger, Will (April 12, 2012). "City breaks ground on Modern Streetcar". Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  16. ^ Jackman, Janet Rose (April 9, 2012). "City to celebrate streetcar as Congress St. closes". Retrieved April 27, 2012.
  17. ^ Pallack, Becky (September 8, 2012). "Bridge art spotlights history". Arizona Daily Star.
  18. ^ Vitu, Teya (October 2011). "4th Avenue Open During Storm Drainage Work". Downtown Tucsonan. Retrieved May 1, 2012.
  19. ^ Ferguson, Joe (September 4, 2013). "Streetcar "celebration" set for Friday". Arizona Daily Star.
  20. ^ Salzwedel, Sam (September 6, 2013). "Hundreds see official unveiling of Streetcar and facility". KVOA. Archived from the original on September 9, 2013.
  21. ^ a b "United Streetcar Options". United Streetcar. Archived from the original on September 2, 2010. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
  22. ^ Schmidt, Brad (April 20, 2013). "Oregon streetcars: Money flows despite missed deadlines, cost overruns". The Oregonian.
  23. ^ "Truck delivers first new streetcar to Tucson from Ore. manufacturing plant; total of 8 planned". The Republic. Associated Press. August 30, 2013. Archived from the original on September 5, 2013.
  24. ^ DaRonco, Darren (May 7, 2013). "Assess penalties for late streetcars now, some council members say". Arizona Daily Star.
  25. ^ Benito, Marcelino (May 1, 2013). "Cashing in: Streetcar delays could deliver dollars to City of Tucson". KGUN-TV. Archived from the original on May 5, 2013.
  26. ^ Pallack, Becky (February 11, 2016). "Tucson gets $1.7M — in parts and labor — for streetcar delays". Arizona Daily Star.
  27. ^ "Schedule and Fares". Sun Link. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
  28. ^ a b Smith, Dylan (Jan 19, 2015). "Sun Link streetcar schedule shifts". Tucson Sentinel.
  29. ^ Reimer, Lauren (May 5, 2016). "Streetcar hours to be reduced by eight hours a week". News 4 Tucson.
  30. ^ "Sun Link Streetcar route approximate timetable". Sun Link. Retrieved May 14, 2016.
  31. ^ "Warren Underpass Near UA Campus Reopens to Pedestrians". UANews. December 9, 2013.
  32. ^ "Sun Tran System-Wide Transit Map" (PDF). Sun Tran. August 2017. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
  33. ^ "Cat Tran 2015-16 Map" (PDF). University of Arizona. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  34. ^ "Pima County regional bike map" (PDF). Pima County. February 2016. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  35. ^ a b c "Parking and streetcar map" (PDF). City of Tucson. October 2015. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  36. ^ "System Map". Sun Link. August 2014.
  37. ^ Steinberg, Jake. "Streetcar from the airport to Tucson Mall? A federal grant could put plans in motion". Retrieved 2020-06-18.

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