Sun Tran budget prolems sideline UA game shuttle

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- For years, Wildcat football fans have depended on Sun Tran bus shuttles to get them to and from the game.

But this year, city budget cuts have sidelined the service.

It's a familiar site at the U of A on game day.

About 3,000 fans per game use the Sun Tran shuttle buses to get to and from Arizona stadium.

"We've been using it for 7 years every game," said Dan Karn.

Dan Karn is one of those Wildcat fans.  The shuttle picks him up at Hi Corbett field four miles away and takes him right to the stadium.

"Our seats are right there.  Easy to walk in and out.  Especially with me, I have a heart problem," said Karn.

But recently, he had some disappointing news.

"I was shocked.  I couldn't believe that they would stop the buses," said Karn.

The city sidelined this season's service, to tackle the budget.

"We want to put our money in the core service and toward the 70,000 plus people who ride every day," said George Caria from the Dept. of Transportation

Last year the city spent $104,000 to operate the shuttle.  It collected only $30,000 from riders.

"I'd pay a dollar more, a couple dollars more, just to get there because how else would you do it," said Dan Karn.

But federal rules for transit don't allow a fare increase.

"We can't charge any more than what the regular base fare is, which is a dollar and a half, so we can't charge anymore.  The other thing is we can't take money from a third party," said Caria.

UA Transportation leaders say they're looking at a couple of options to replace the shuttle.

They include hiring a private company to bus fans back and forth, or using the university's smaller Cat Tran shuttles.

Until a decision is made, riders like Dan wonder how they'll make it to the game.

"I just hope they have a great season.  I hope I get to go down there and I hope I can get in and out of there okay and enjoy what we've been doing for many years in the past," said Dan Karn.

Budget cuts also forced Sun Tran to cancel shuttles for the "Race for the Cure" and Tucson rodeo in recent years.