Sun Shuttle Dial-A-Ride: A success story - The Explorer: Opinion

Sun Shuttle Dial-A-Ride: A success story

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Satish Hiremath

Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 4:00 am

On February 13, 2012, the Town of Oro Valley, in partnership with the Regional Transportation Authority of Pima County (RTA), launched the Sun Shuttle Dial-A-Ride transit service. This new service integrated the Town’s Coyote Run senior transit service, Handicar paratransit service and the RTA Sun Shuttle circulator service into a single, expanded service that provides mobility to more individuals in the Oro Valley area. 

Sun Shuttle Dial-A-Ride is operated by the Town of Oro Valley 365 days a year and provides transit service for seniors, reduced fares and weekend services for ADA-certified passengers, and allows the general public to travel anywhere in the Town of Oro Valley for $3. 

The success of this new service has been astounding. 

Prior to service integration, the Town’s Coyote Run service provided an average of 53 trips per day. Daily ridership now averages more than 150 trips per day. In March, ridership increased 85 percent when compared to the same month last year. 

While most passengers are seniors and those with disabilities, there has been a 28% increase in general public ridership. Sun Shuttle Dial-A-Ride now carries more than 2,480 riders per month. The monthly number of registered riders has doubled and continues to grow, reinforcing the fact that this vital service is meeting the various transportation needs of our community.

Town projections for the next year anticipate more than 27,600 passenger trips, transporting area residents more than 312,000 miles. 

This unanticipated growth in ridership brought new challenges and opportunities to the Town of Oro Valley Transit Services Department. The coordination of services has created efficiencies and standardized regional operating policies; however, the rapid growth of the service required additional human and capital resources. Fortunately, this new service has reduced operating costs for both the Town and the RTA. Increased efficiency is projected to result in an annual savings of more than $150,000 to the RTA and nearly $200,000 to the Town of Oro Valley.

Passengers have been supportive and patient as service was increased to meet the demands of the community. Sun Shuttle Dial-A-Ride now operates more than 25,000 miles a month at a 177 percent rate of growth.

Thank you for helping make this transportation service so successful in our community. And if you haven’t ridden with us yet, we hope to see you soon. 

For more information or to schedule a ride, call 229-4990 or visit us online at www.orovalleyaz.gov.

(Editors Note: Satish Hiremath is the Mayor of The Town of Oro Valley.)

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