Getting to Know Our ThinkTransit Host Agency—Sun Tran!

From mule-drawn trolleys to a 100% low-emission fleet, Sun Tran has a rich history in Tucson.

Now that you know where we’ll be having ThinkTransit in 2024, let’s get to know our host agency Sun Tran a little better. Sun Tran traces its roots to 1897 with the Tucson Street Railway, mule-drawn trolleys, and the Tucson Rapid Transit Company (TRT), which bought the mule-powered streetcars in 1905. In 1906 the mules were replaced by electric streetcars, and what would become Sun Tran was born.

The agency itself was founded in 1969 when the City of Tucson bought TRT and was given the name Sun Tran in 1975. Sun Tran, operated by RATP Dev and led by General Manager Steve Spade, operates over 185 buses that cover 28,000 miles a day. They also have Sun Link streetcars, Sun Express, and Sun Shuttle supporting the City of Tucson and the University of Arizona, but what else makes Sun Tran special?

Sun Tran was named the Best Transit System in the U.S. in 2005 and 1988, Arizona’s Best Transit System in 2012 and 2004, has award winning marketing programs, and 100% of its buses run on CNG, hybrid, or biodiesel. It’s currently free to ride Sun Tran, which is helping reduce traffic and pollution in the city—on top of their commitment to using cleaner-burning fuels. In 2021, Sun Tran was the first transit system in Arizona to operate fully electric buses. They have been steadily adding electric buses to their fleet and will replace all diesel buses with either clean burning CNG or electric buses by 2028.

Sun Tran is an essential part of the fabric of Tucson. They are proud to say that over 99,000 jobs are within a 30 minute ride and 209,200 jobs are within a half mile of transit. The Sun Link streetcars, running from the university and into the heart of downtown, let locals and tourists alike enjoy the shops, restaurants, and entertainment in historic downtown Tucson.

One of the most popular parts of ThinkTransit are the host agency technical tours. During a technical tour, attendees get to experience the inner workings of Sun Trans system first-hand. We’re so excited for you to see what they have in store, and how their system benefits their city and passengers.

Make sure you check out their website for all the info, history, and community connection that Sun Tran is so proud of.

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