As an international student, you will need to become familiar with different transportation options in Tucson. If you do not plan on buying a car, there are many other ways to get around campus and explore your surrounding areas. Understanding Tucson laws is also important for your safety. This includes laws you must follow while on foot, on bicycle or driving a vehicle. For information on local safety, policies, and laws, check the City of Tucson website.
Tucson is known as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the U.S. Even on the UA campus, there are many bike paths and services available for students.
These are some of the best on-campus resources for bikes:
Cat Wheels Bike Sharing Program- Free bike rentals for 24 hours
Campus Bicycle Station- Free bike-related services such as tire pumping and flat tire assistance
Tip for bicycle owners—invest in a good U-Lock for your bike and register your bike in case it gets stolen!
Bus: CatTran and Sun Tran
The CatTran is the free UA campus shuttle. Use the CatTran map to find stops, routes, and pick-up times. If you need on-campus transportation between 6 pm and 12:30 am, you can use the NightCat. You can also download the app to track the CatTran’s current location.
The Sun Tran is the Tucson city bus. As a UA student, you can purchase a discounted U-Pass and receive a SunGO card which can also be used on the Sun Link streetcar. The non-discounted fare is $1.50/ride.
Sun Link Streetcar
The Sun Link streetcar is a convenient way to go from campus to downtown. If you buy a discounted U-Pass, you can use this on the Sun Tran city bus. Watch this video to learn how to ride the streetcar.
If you decide to purchase a car, you will need to fill out required paperwork to register your car with the Arizona Department of Transportation. This can be done in person at your local MVD office within 15 days of purchase. You can find more information about how to apply for an Arizona driver’s license here.
Arizona also requires that every motor vehicle (including motorcycles) operated on roadways be covered by insurance through a company that is authorized to do business in Arizona. Car insurance policies vary across companies and depend on the car’s condition, your driving record, and the intended use of the car. Obtain several insurance quotes before purchasing.
The list below includes four common insurance companies. Please note that the information below does not represent any endorsement by UA International Student Services. For the most up-to-date information, check with the company websites directly.
Paying for a Car
Two common ways to purchase a new or used vehicle in the U.S are:
Cash: You can often get the best price for a car by offering to pay the full amount in "cash." Remember it can be dangerous to carry around large amounts of money with you so ask if a cashier’s check from a bank or traveler’s check is an option.
Financing: Whether buying a new or used car through a dealer, compare the cost of different methods of financing. Loans may add 20-30% to the total price of the car. Before signing ANY documents make certain that you understand all the details of the sale and payments required. Keep copies of all documents.
Tips for buying a car
Use extreme caution when purchasing a used car—used cars are less expensive than new cars, but sellers could be hiding information about the real condition of the car.
When buying from an individual, pay no cash until you have obtained a title.
If purchasing a used car, ask the seller for a vehicle history report.
Have a mechanic look at the car or bring a friend who is knowledgeable about cars.
Parking on campus
You will need to apply for a permit to park at a designated lot of parking garage on campus. Check the Parking and Transportation Services website for more information.
UA offers access to rent zipcars by the hour or day. Reserve online. Hourly and daily rates include gas and insurance.
The list below includes four common taxi companies. Please note that the information below does not represent any endorsement by UA International Student Services. For the most up-to-date information, check with the company websites directly.