Picture Rocks Sun Shuttle Pilot Program Ends November 2023

October 25, 2023
Sun Shuttle, a neighborhood pilot transit service for outlying areas of greater Tucson, will end on Nov. 25 in the Picture Rocks area.

The pilot program, Route 414P Picture Rocks, began in October 2022. The timeframe established to operate and analyze the pilot program was one year.

The Regional Transportation Authority, which is funding the pilot program, determined that transit demand was lower than expected based on ridership numbers. A ridership target of 300 riders per month was set for the pilot program, or an average of 75 riders per week. To date, however, the service has averaged 22 riders per week.

Despite marketing efforts, including a direct mailing campaign, ridership for the services has not increased over the pilot service period.

With ridership at low levels, the costs to operate the route would far exceed that of other Sun Shuttle routes. Similar rural routes average about $31 per person to operate, while 414P averaged about $142 per person.

The Sun Shuttle pilot route through Picture Rocks was initiated by the RTA to determine if there is any transit demand to reach destinations such as a park-and-ride, grocery stores, retail shopping, or connections to additional transit routes via Sun Tran, the region’s mass transit service.

The Regional Transportation Authority operates Sun Shuttle services in other outlying areas, including in Marana, Oro Valley, Green Valley/Sahuarita, funded through the RTA’s voter-approved, 20-year regional transportation plan and sales tax, which are effective through June 2026.

The Regional Transportation Authority is the fiscal manager of a $2.1 billion, 20-year regional transportation plan and half-cent sales tax approved by Pima County voters on May 16, 2006. The RTA Board is comprised of representatives from the local jurisdictions in Pima County, including the cities of Tucson and South Tucson, Pima County, the towns of Marana, Oro Valley and Sahuarita, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and the Tohono O’odham Nation. A representative of the Arizona State Transportation Board also serves on the board. For more information about the RTA plan, visit RTAmobility.com or call (520) 792-1093.