Nothing symbolizes the start of a new school year better than the sudden onslaught of humanity racing across the University of Arizona campus every August. Pedestrians, bikes, cars, motorcycles, buses, streetcars, shuttles, skateboards, hoverboards and more bustle around our 380+ acre campus, all trying to get to their destination as quickly as possible.
For a new Wildcat, this can be overwhelming. Here's a breakdown of all the different options for transportation on campus, so you can map out what works best for you.
Biking on Campus
The UA campus is very bicycle-friendly, to say the least. You can find bike paths along most streets and an abundance of bike racks near almost every building. The university provides a free bike valet service in front of the Nugent building and along the Warren bike path north of Helen Street so you can safely park your bike if you don't have a lock. They also have bike repair services and bike education information available there. Go to
Pro tip: Register your bike with Parking & Transportation Services if you plan to use it on campus regularly. This way, if your bike gets stolen—as it probably will—PTS can have a better chance of finding it for you.
The best way to avoid having your bike stolen is to never leave it out in a secluded area at night, even if you have a lock on it. If you plan to be on campus late, lock your bike in a well-lit area where pedestrians are present.
Having just a cable lock on your bike is a bad idea, as thieves are armed with bolt cutters that will slice through that cable wire in less time than you can say: "Dude, where's my bike?" Invest in a metal u-lock and lock one of your tires onto the rack along with the bike's frame.
If you need to leave your bike on campus overnight, there are bike enclosures in most parking garages, where bikes can be locked behind a gate that only opens with a security code. You can rent a space for $35 per year.
If you want to take your bike security to the next level, the university also has bicycle lockers at various locations that you can rent for $100 per year (with an $80 refundable key deposit.) The lockers are big boxes that you can park your entire bike inside and lock from the outside, so when you leave your bike on campus overnight, it is secured and hidden from the outside world.
Not sure where to purchase a bike? Check out these local bike shops:
• Sonoran Cycles (845 E. University
• Fair Wheel Bikes (1110 E. Sixth St.)
• BICAS (2001 N. Seventh Ave.)
• Transit Cycles (267 S. Avenida del
• Performance Bicycle (3302 E. Speedway
• Roadrunner Bicycles (6177 E. Broadway
If you don't have a bike but want to use one on campus, UA has a bike sharing program called Cat Wheels. The bikes are stored in every campus parking garage and come from a variety of single-speed cruisers to seven-speed bikes. All the bikes have hand brakes and come with a U-lock. Read the full list of rules, procedures and requirements for the Cat Wheels program at
Driving to Campus
For all campus parking garages except Second Street Garage, the daily parking rate (5 a.m. to 5 p.m.) is $2 per hour with a maximum charge of $8. After 5 p.m. the rate goes down to $1 per hour with a maximum charge of $4.
For Second Street Garage, the daily parking rate (5 a.m. to 5 p.m) is also $2 per hour, but the maximum charge is $16. After 5 p.m. the rate is $2 for the first hour and then $1 for every additional hour, with a maximum charge of $5.
It's important to note that these prices will change on days when football games and men's basketball games take place. This is because a large number of people come to the university and use the parking garages. There will usually be signs set up outside of the garages a day or two in advance to let you know what kinds of changes will be taking place.
The daily prices can add up over time if you drive to campus every day, so UA offers an annual garage parking permit for $692. You can also sign up for a specific surface lot or street-side parking permit for $581. Motorcycle parking permits are $100. Go to parking.arizona.edu/parking/permit-rates/ for a full list of available permits and prices.
If parking on campus is not a possibility, you can turn to a newly established parking service called AirGarage. The brainchild of two students from Arizona State University, AirGarage is a free app that lets you reserve parking spaces in the driveways of houses and the parking lots of businesses within walking distance of campus. These residents and business owners rent out their spaces at prices that are often lower than parking on campus. If you're willing to save some money by walking a bit farther, this is a great option. Visit airgara.ge for more information about how the service works.
If you ever find yourself having car trouble on campus, the university's Motorist Assistance Program is a great resource to help get you out of a sticky situation. They can help you jump start your car, retrieve keys that are locked inside, locate your car in a large parking lot or garage and get you fuel if your tank is empty. Call (520) 621-2886 for free assistance 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Zipcar is a great resource for students who live on campus and need wheels on occasion. The company provides cars that you can rent for a specific number of hours or days. These cars are often parked in convenient places around campus for you to pick up, and when you're all done you just park it where you found it (with a full tank, of course.) Go to www.zipcar.com/getting-started if you're interested in how it works.
RideAmigos is UA's online carpooling platform. You can use the service to plan your carpooling commute or win prizes by using the service. Check out parking.arizona.edu/transportation/rideshare-programs/ride-amigos/ for details.
Safe Ride is a free service provided by the Associated Students of the University of Arizona. They offer rides to students and employees anywhere within the boundaries of Fort Lowell Road, Broadway Boulevard, Stone Avenue and Country Club Road. All you have to do is call (520) 621-7233 and wait to be picked up at a specified location. Visit azsaferide.wixsite.com/saferide for specific guidelines and restrictions.
Disability Cart Services
If you have a temporary or permanent condition that affects your ability to get around campus, the UA offers transportation services that can help you get to your classes or other scholastic-related obligations free of charge. By registering through Campus Health (temporary disability) or the Disability Resource Center (permanent disability), the Disability Cart Services will transport you anywhere on campus that isn't accessible from a CatTran route. This service is offered from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Go to parking.arizona.edu/campus-services/disability-cart-service/ for more information.
The Sun Tran bus system and the Sun Link streetcar are two great ways to get around Tucson in an environmentally friendly manner. UA and Sun Tran offer an exclusive half-off discount to university students and employees called U-Pass, which allow an unlimited number of rides during the semester or the year. Visit
The Cat Tran is a free shuttle service for UA students and employees that stops at a variety of locations both on and off campus. The university created a website (arizona.transloc.com) that you can use to track the location of shuttles that are in service and determine how long it will take to get to your destination. The Cat Tran runs from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and the NightCat, UA's after hours shuttle service, operates from 6:00 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. Go to parking.arizona.edu/campus-services/cattran/ for specific routes and stop times, rider guidelines and more.