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Express bus routes added to OV, Rita Ranch areas

Citizen Staff Writer



With ridership on the rise, Sun Tran will add three weekday express routes to Oro Valley and Rita Ranch on Monday.

Two Oro Valley routes will whisk riders to and from downtown and Raytheon Missile Systems and other nearby businesses. A third route will speed riders along Interstate 10 to and from Rita Ranch and the Ronstadt Transit Center.

“These were some of the routes where there was an expressed need,” said Sun Tran Communications Director Michele Joseph.

The Oro Valley routes will run south only in the morning and north in the afternoon (about an hour to/from downtown, 90 minutes to/from Raytheon). The Rita Ranch route will bring riders both to and from the East Side mornings and afternoons (about 30 minutes).

The new routes are in the sweeping $2.1 billion Regional Transportation Authority plan and are funded – including operation and maintenance – by the RTA, Joseph said.

Thirty-six new buses will serve the routes, she said.

Sun Tran has fared well since the economy began to falter.

“All of our routes have had ridership increases in the past two years,” Joseph said.

Ridership is up about 16 percent through December, the midway point in the fiscal year, over the previous year, she said.

The new routes are among a handful of pending changes. Several routes were adjusted to get more buses on time, and several buses will be replaced.

“This month we’re putting 47 new buses in service,” Joseph said.

In addition, schedules for routes 3, 6, 17, 19, 23, 24, 27, 29, 34 and 50 have been adjusted to get buses running on time more often. Some daytime trips on routes 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 16, 17, and 23 will be cut when school is not in session.

There are also new Park and Ride lots serving express routes at Old Pueblo Plaza at Ina Road and Oldfather Drive (serving routes 102x, 103x and 202x); Riverfront Park, 551 W. Lambert Lane (routes 107x and 203x) and in Rita Ranch on Old Vail Road a mile west of Houghton Road (route 110x).

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