Oro Valley staying in the transit business - Tucson Local Media: Editorials

Oro Valley staying in the transit business

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Posted: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 3:00 am

Independence, regardless of age or ability, plays a critical role in our quality of life. That’s why, in 1996, the Town of Oro Valley implemented Coyote Run – a transit system to provide elderly and disabled residents a safe, timely and economical mode of transportation.

The outstanding service Coyote Run provides is part of the framework of this community.

Funding challenges

For the past 15 years, Coyote Run was sustained by the assistance of state transportation funds. But in 2010, state funding was eliminated, and the town was not in a position to absorb the full cost of operation. The future of Coyote Run was in doubt.

Understanding the value of this service and the role it plays in the daily lives of Oro Valley residents, town leaders worked to find solutions and new sources of funding. Councilman Lou Waters and myself sought input from Coyote Run customers to identify key areas of this service, which must be maintained.

The solution

The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) was established by Tucson area voters in 2006 to provide and enhance regional transportation. To accomplish this, the RTA hires contractors such as construction companies to build new roads. The RTA and the Town of Oro Valley are currently negotiating an agreement under which the RTA will contract (pay) the town to provide ADA transportation services for those living in the Oro Valley area.

The town will supplement RTA funding to extend these transportation services to include all current Coyote Run customers.

The initial contract — which must be renewed on an annual basis – will last through June 2013. If the town is satisfied with the level of service, it may choose to bid for the contract again with the RTA, which has tax funding through 2026.

This partnership is an outstanding example of regional cooperation to provide a critical service during financially difficult times.

How will this affect customers?

The Town of Oro Valley will still own and operate this transit service. The only changes will be an increase in the hours of operation and days of service, as well as an expanded route system for qualified passengers. Customers will ride on the same buses with the same drivers who will transport them door-to-door to the same destinations.

Will it still be called Coyote Run?

Since these transit services will now be funded through a partnership with RTA, the service may be re-named to conform to the RTA’s established branding program. Users will no longer need to be concerned with which bus services which customer. There will be one service and one phone number to call.

Still have questions?

Our goal has been to ensure that these changes will not affect or change the quality of service residents currently receive as customers of Coyote Run. If you still have questions or concerns, I hope that you will contact us so that we can provide you with the information and assurance you need. Please contact Aimee Ramsey at 229-4980 or aramsey@orovalley.gov.

Steve Solomon is a member of the Oro Valley Town Council.

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