By Aimee Ramsey
I’m always surprised to hear there are still residents who are unaware of their
transportation options in Oro Valley with Sun Shuttle Dial-A-Ride. This
outstanding service is completely open to all riders including the general public. This service can be a low-cost alternative for individuals and families who have transportation needs and want to avoid the expense of owning a second or third vehicle. Many families also use the service to transport students who are attending schools or extracurricular activities when other transportation options are not provided.
Transit services have been operated by the Town since 1996, but significant changes took effect in Fiscal Year 2011/12 when the Town partnered with the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) to provide the Sun Shuttle Dial-A-Ride as a low-cost, public transportation option for residents and visitors in the greater Oro Valley area. Today we have transit services with expanded service hours and, though limited, we also operate on the weekends for eligible riders.
Sun Shuttle Dial-A-Ride service is available to everyone within the service zone. Riders are picked up at their place of origin (home, office, medial appointment, shopping center, etc.) and dropped off at their desired location. This is door-to-door service.
Riders can take any trip within the greater Oro Valley area for only $3. This area extends as far south as Ina Road and as far west as Shannon Road. Service is provided Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Eligible seniors, age 65 and older, are eligible for expanded transportation options. They can ride to destinations in the Casas Adobes area for only $6, as well as destinations in Tucson, including the major medical centers for only $9. This service is provided Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Our current senior ridership has expressed how much this service has helped them regain their independence and mobility. Some of our riders are over 100 years old!
Additionally, Oro Valley residents who qualify under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) can be transported to any location in the greater Tucson-Metro area for only $3. Low-income clients are charged only $1.50 a trip. This service is provided Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on weekends and holidays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Oro Valley Sun Shuttle Dial-A-Ride has improved its fleet of 26 vehicles as well. Last year, the Town obtained eight new shuttles. As a result, the average age of the shuttles is only 2.7 years old. This new fleet of vehicles is a depiction of our dedication to continuous improvement, and it will ensure continued, safe, comfortable and reliable service for our riders.
Oro Valley Sun Shuttle Dial-A-Ride is committed to continuous improvement. Recently, the service has started an automated trip notification service that notifies riders of their pick-up times the night before their scheduled trip as well as a notification 15 minutes before their actual pick-up. This notification can be received via voice, text or email. Additionally, online trip booking has been implemented to provide clients with even more options for trip scheduling.
Reservation hours via phone are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please call 520-229-4990. Reservations online are available 24 hours. Visit www.orovalleyaz.gov/online-services.
Reservations must be made by 4 p.m. the day before the trip, and by 4 p.m. on Friday for Sunday and Monday trips. Sun Shuttle Dial-A-Ride does not have vehicles “standing by” or circulating, looking for riders. Instead, vehicles are scheduled for specific passenger trips the day before the trip takes place. This helps control operational expenses and ensures transportation costs remain low. While this “day before” reservation requirement may seem restrictive, in reality most riders who want to take advantage of this low-cost transportation option know well ahead of time when they need transportation for appointments or even shopping or dining.
For more information on the service provided by Oro Valley Sun Shuttle Dial-A-Ride, visit www.orovalleyaz.gov and enter “sun shuttle” into the search window. The Sun Shuttle and Sun Express web page will provide complete details on trip reservations, service areas and potential detours.
For our current fiscal year, ending June 30, 2017, it is projected that Oro Valley Sun Shuttle Dial-A-Ride will have provided more than 51,000 passenger trips. So everyone within the Oro Valley area who seeks affordable, reliable and worry-free transportation can relax and leave the driving to us.
Aimee Ramsey is assistant director of Community Development and Public Works
Oro Valley’s premier public transportation
service is available to everyone