A Modest Proposal from the Bus Rider Union?

5 min read

TBRUYo bus riders, supporters of bus riders, and any other warm and breathing parties interested in transit justice:

What do you think of this as a possible Tucson Bus Rider Union proposal to solve the City’s budget woes in regard to transit? They are taking $11 million from the cops, $4 million from Fire, and want $1.7 million from Transit.

The city seems hell-bent on raising fares which is in reality balancing their budget on the backs of bus riders, many of whom live in poverty.

But they don’t have to.

Check this out! Please reply with your ideas and come to the next monthly meeting of the Bus Rider Union on June 8 to discuss this and hopefully put it into action. 

The Council will vote on raising fares on August 9.

-Brian Flagg


By Sarah Launius

PhD Candidate in the School of Geography and Development at the University of Arizona

What we propose:

  1. We need a moratorium on non-express fare increases for the next 18 months alongside a concerted effort from Sun Tran to increase ridership.
  1. Increase ridership by: expansion of the Get on Board program and implementation of other group deep-discounts for transit fare cards, these could also be part of the Infill Incentives; introduction of a 3-day pass ($10) for visitors with special incentives to area hotels to provide these passes to their clientele; expansion of special deals to riders for buying higher numbers of rides at a time; investment in SunGo kiosks capable of providing stored value fare cards at bus stops to facilitate first time riders’ access; and further review and implementation of frequency and duration of service recommendations.
  1. Implement a dedicated funding source for transit from a secondary property tax or a car/fuel/parking related transaction privilege tax.
  1. Create a non-profit transit agency to manage City of Tucson transit system that would work with existing staff at Sun Van, Sun Tran with plans to include Sun Link moving forward.
  1. Selective reduction of service/fare increase could be implemented including:
  • Establish a Tucson non-profit transit agency to replace PTM/Transdev ($566,316)
  • Eliminate 108 (express route) ($111,000)
  • Eliminate 1-am and 1-pm trip from 101x ($34,000)
  • Eliminate 2-am and 2-pm trips from 109x ($83,000)
  • Consolidation of Routes 9 and 20 and elimination of north-south service ($85,000)
  •  Reduce Thursday night Sun Link service ($94,340)
  •  Reduce Friday and Saturday night Sun Link service ($48,740)
  • Fee for optional ADA service ($619,000)
  • Eliminate paper transfers – single ride fare good for 2 hours ($227,940)
  • Increase Express fares by $.35/day and $9/month ($46,500)

 TOTAL: $1,915,836

There are four different approaches possible to address revenue and cost imbalances in the transit system: service cuts; fare increases; ridership increases; and dedicated funding.

The first approach is to cut service so as to reduce expenses. There are select reductions of services included in the current proposal. These reductions must be conservative so as to not further decrease ridership.

The second approach is to raise fares to produce the revenue necessary to meet expenses. Fare increases at this time will likely result in further ridership decreases that may ultimately require further reductions in service in the future. Increases should be avoided at all costs and if, in 18 months, it is found to still be necessary fares should be increased slowly and only alongside efforts to increase and maintain ridership and greater efficiency of service.

The final two approaches have the potential to shift the need to continually cut service and raise fares to address budget shortfalls – both of which contribute to reduction in ridership and therefore revenues. In the third approach (increased ridership) and fourth approach (dedicated transit funding) the City of Tucson has the ability to implement an excellent transit system for all residents while eliminating additional requirements on the general fund.

The third approach is to focus aggressively on increasing ridership. This is arguably a more difficult intervention to achieve and one that promises significant overall benefit above and beyond that possible through cutting service and raising fares. Increasing ridership means not only marketing existing service or offering incentives to businesses to purchase transit fare cards for their employees (although this absolutely should be done aggressively), it is also about fine-tuning service so that more riders and potential riders see riding transit as a benefit. There are many parts to increasing ridership and some take longer than others to implement. Increasing ridership MUST be a priority for transit service in Tucson NOW.

The fourth approach is to identify and begin promoting a dedicated funding source for transit. Our transit network is a public good and an attractor to private investment. The City of Tucson should work to establish a dedicated funding source similar to those that sustain the RTA and the Rio Nuevo District. Tucsonans will support such a measure if they believe their money is being managed well and they understand and experience the benefit.

¿Propuesta de La Unión de Pasajeros del Camión?

Escuchen Pasajeros del Camión, Partidarios e interesados en la justicia de tránsito.

¿Qué Piensan de esta propuesta de La Unión de Pasajeros del Camión para resolver el presupuesto de la Ciudad? Están Hablando de $11 millones de los policías, $4 millones de los bomberos y $1.7 millones de los camiones.

La Ciudad parece empeñada en aumentar las tarifas a costa de los pasajeros.

Pero no tienen que ser así.

¡Lee esta propuesta! Por favor responde con tus ideas y ven a la junta el 8 de Junio en el BRU para discutir esto. El Consejo votara para aumentar las tarifas el 9 de Agosto.


La Unión de Pasajeros del Camión de Tucson

  1. Necesitamos un aplazamiento de no aumentar las tarifas por los siguientes 18 meses junto con un compromiso del Sun Tran de esforzarse en aumentar los pasajeros.
  1. Aumentar los pasajeros: Hacer propaganda al programa Get on Board (suban a bordo) y otros descuentos en las tarjetas.
  1. Implementar un fondo para el camión de los impuestos de propiedad o del carro/gasolina/parqueadero.
  1. Crear una agencia de transito no lucrativa para manejar el sistema de tránsito de la Ciudad de Tucson que trabaje con el personal del Sun Tran.
  1. Reducciones de servicio/aumento de tarifa puede ser implementada incluyendo:
  • Establecer una agencia no lucrativa en Tucson para remplazar PTM/Transdev ($566,316)
  • Eliminar 108 (ruta expresa) ($111,000)
  • Eliminar el viaje de 101x de la 1-am y 1-pm ($34,000)
  • Eliminar el viaje de 109x de las 2-am y 2-pm ($83,000 )
  • Consolidar las rutas 9 y 20 y eliminar el servicio de norte-sur (XXXX)
  • Reducir el servicio de Sun Link los Jueves en la noche ($94,340 )
  • Reducir el servicio de Sun Link los Viernes y Sábados en la noche ($48,740 )
  • Cobro por servicio opcional de ADA ($619,000)
  • Eliminar el papel – tarifa buena por dos horas (227,940)
  • Aumentar tarifas exprés a $.35/día y $9/mes (46,500)

TOTAL $1, 830,836

Hay cuatro perspectivas que discutir en los ingresos y costos del sistema de transito: recortes de servicio; aumento de tarifas; aumento de pasajeros y; fondos.

La primera perspectiva es recortar servicios para reducir gastos. Hay reducción de servicios en el plan.

La segunda perspectiva es aumentar las tarifas para producir ingresos para cubrir los gastos. De nuevo, aumentar las tarifas en este momento resultara en la reducción de los pasajeros que en un futuro requerirá reducir los servicios del camión.

La tercera perspectiva es enfocarse en aumentar los pasajeros. Podría decirse que es la mejor opción en lugar de recortar servicios o aumentar las tarifas. Aumentar los pasajeros quiere decir promover un servicio que ya existe u ofrecer incentivos a los negocios para que compren tarjetas para usar el camión para sus empleados.

La cuarta perspectiva es identificar y empezar a promover un recurso para el fondo para el tránsito. Sun Link es anunciada como un imán para atraer inversiones privadas y COT debería trabajar con RTA y los miembros de la junta de Rio Nuevo para asegurarse que los fondos disponibles son completamente para el tránsito.















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