Tucson Extends Free Transit To End of Year

After eliminating transit fares in 2020, the city of Tucson is exploring ways to fund a permanent program.

June 22, 2022, 11:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Entrance to Ronstadt Transit Center, Tucson, Arizona

PICTOR PICTURE COMPANY / Ronstadt Transit Center, Tucson, Arizona

Tucson’s COVID-era fare-free transit program will remain in place until the end of the year, reports Diana Ramos for Tucson.com, after which the city will assess the program’s future. “Mayor Regina Romero and Vice Mayor Lane Santa Cruz sent a letter to City Manager Michael Ortega supporting his recommendation to keep fares free until the end of the year, but asked for a wide array of data over the past 10 years such as ridership data, safety and incident rates and staffing levels for bus drivers.”

The city is examining other fare-free transit programs to understand their strategies for funding and maintaining free transit. Elsewhere in Arizona, “The city of Tempe’s Orbit program provides a free neighborhood circulator shuttle, which was implemented in 2007.” The service operates year-round at 15-minute intervals and is funded by a dedicated transit tax and Arizona State University, which funds operations.

One group, however, is calling for the end of free fares in Tucson: bus drivers. “Tucson’s Teamster union released a letter May 1 asking for an end to the policy, which it blamed for a spike in crime on routes.” City officials have pushed back on this claim. “Verbal assaults between riders and drivers are low when compared to the average daily boarding, according to the city’s transit administrator, Rhett Crowninshield.”

Some related stories on the mixed success of fare-free transit programs:

Monday, June 20, 2022 in Tucson.com

Indian Trail, North Carolina

Four ‘Low-Hanging Fruit’ Zoning Reforms

An excerpt from the latest book on zoning argues for four approaches to reform that can immediately improve land use regulation in the United States.

June 26, 2022 - M. Nolan Gray

Car Traffic

San Francisco Just Ended Single-Family Zoning

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to Tuesday to eliminate single-family zoning, but pro-development advocates say additional changes are needed to unleash a wave of construction.

June 29, 2022 - San Francisco Chronicle

Housing Construction

The State of the Nation’s Housing: 2022 Report

An annual report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) reveals that a growing number of American households face housing insecurity and spiking costs of living.

June 23, 2022 - Enterprise Community Partners

Nighttime view of Oklahoma City skyline

Oklahoma City Begins Work on its First Bus Rapid Transit System

The BRT line has been in the works since 2005, when the city created a plan to focus on regional transit solutions.

2 hours ago - Mass Transit

MARTA Bus

Atlanta One Step Closer to Bus Rapid Transit

The city’s transit agency says bus rapid transit will be cheaper and faster to build than light rail.

6 hours ago - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Two-story housing in Sacramento, California

Sacramento Households Hit Hard by Evictions

With pandemic-era renter protections ending and rents rising by close to 20 percent, renters in Sacramento are finding it harder to afford housing in the region.

July 1 - The Sacramento Bee

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

International Real Estate Strategies and Deal Negotiation

Harvard Graduate School of Design Executive Education

Affordable Housing: Principles for Changing Domestic and Global Markets

Harvard Graduate School of Design Executive Education

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.