AZ: Streetcar Gives Commuting Fans game-day Options

Aug. 24--The Zona Zoo boasts one of the largest student-run contingents in the country, at 10,000 strong.

The student section's fearless leader, Jacob Borcover, might be the only student in the country who knows how to operate a streetcar.

Well, sort of.

In early August, Borcover -- a senior in the UA's Eller business school -- received a brief lesson at the Sun Link headquarters on how to drive Tucson's modern streetcar.

It was in a model car -- not the real thing -- and he was taught how to use the throttle and horns.

"It was a two-minute lesson, and it takes 80 hours to get certified," he said, laughing. "But it was pretty cool."

Borcover might not be at the helm, but the streetcar is finally up and running following years of development. Some fans will use the month-old car to travel to and from home football games. The Sun Tran shuttle that ran between Hi Corbett Field, Arizona Pavilions and the stadium has been discontinued.

"I think it's going to be exciting because there are a lot of people who were driving," said Jane McCollum, general manager of the Marshall Foundation, which manages most of the real estate at Main Gate Square. "They drive and they're not that far away, but it's too far to walk. Now, they're close to the streetcar so they'll be able to come in and take advantage of tailgates, come to Main Gate Square and really enjoy the ambience of sports near the university."

Here's how Sun Link will change the way fans get to games:

What is the streetcar's route?

The streetcar traverses a 3.9-mile route from the UA campus area, University Boulevard, Fourth Avenue, downtown and the Mercado area just west of Interstate 10. There are 18 stops in total, and for more specifics on where they are, log on to sunlinkstreetcar.com online.

When will it run on game days?

The Wildcats have five home games on Saturdays this season (Sept. 13 at 8 p.m. against Nevada, Sept. 20 against California, Oct. 11 against USC, Nov. 8 against Colorado for Homecoming, and Nov. 15 against Washington) and two on Fridays (this Friday at 7:30 p.m. against UNLV, and Nov. 28 at 1:30 p.m. against ASU).

The schedule for those days is as follows:

--Friday: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. every 10 minutes; 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. every 20 minutes; 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. every 30 minutes.

--Saturday: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every 20 minutes; 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. every 30 minutes.

What's the cost?

You can purchase a one-day SunGO ticket for $4 at an on-site vending machine, which is good for 24 hours. If you have a SunGO Card, then a one-way ticket, full fare, costs $1.50; one-way economy fare costs 50 cents, and children age 5 and younger ride free with a paying adult. It's important to note that machines sell only the one-day, $4 passes.

You can buy a SunGo card ...

--Online.

--At retail sales outlets throughout Tucson.

--At the ticket vending machines located at each of the three transit centers.

--At Sun Tran's administrative office (3920 N. Sun Tran Blvd.).

--By phone: 792-9222 or 628-1565.

--By mail.

How will THE STREETCAR affect Bear Down Friday?

The day before every home game, Main Gate Square hosts a pep rally from 5 to 7 p.m. that features the Pride of Arizona marching band, Wilbur and Wilma, UA cheerleaders, the pom squad and twirlers. A number of Wildcats coaches make guest appearances at each pep rally, and UA basketball coach Sean Miller is scheduled to appear at Thursday's rally.

Borcover said the streetcar will not be a hindrance, even though the event takes place along the route. In fact, organizers plan to incorporate Sun Link into the events.

He said that some of the guest speakers, along with the cheerleaders, will enter the program on the streetcar, and the band will leave on it as well.

"We're coordinating our schedule to the streetcar's," Borcover said. "We'll move everyone out of the way when the car comes through, but instead of having that be an annoyance, we want to make it a part of the program."

Copyright 2014 - The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson

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