A wider variety of transit services will be available throughout the metropolitan Tucson area under a needed expansion and unification of a sometimes fragmented and disjointed system.
The most visible changes will be a new look for Sun Tran buses and new names for other aspects of the system.
But underneath that will be a seamless system unified under the Regional Transportation Authority.
When voters approved, in 2006, a half-cent sales tax increase to pay for transportation, $500 million was designated for transit services over the two-decade life of the tax.
Residents throughout the county are paying the additional tax, so it is only equitable that all benefit from improved services.
Presently, Sun Tran primarily operates in the city, although tentacles of service extend into unincorporated areas under county contracts.
The city will continue operating Sun Tran and much of the transit system – but with the RTA overseeing all of it to make sure the different aspects work together.
And that is how it should be.
There will be additional express bus routes serving outlying areas and, in the future, circulator bus routes in Marana and Oro Valley. Rural areas will have park-and-ride lots.
And transit vehicles will sport a new silver, blue, yellow and white paint scheme that will be phased in as new equipment is purchased.
A regionwide transit system would offer transportation alternatives to far more people through regular buses, express buses, van- and car-pool programs and vans for handicapped people.
It makes sense – for riders and for the taxpayers who finance it – to bring it all under a single regional umbrella.