An estimated 17,000 people rode Tucson’s streetcars, for free, during the first day of operation, city officials said Saturday.

During peak hours on Friday’s opening day, eight Sun Link streetcars transported passengers along the 4-mile route, gliding from the downtown’s west side into the University of Arizona area.

The route connects five districts: the University of Arizona, Main Gate Square, Fourth Avenue, downtown and the Mercado.

Fare-free rides continue from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. today. Beginning Monday, riders will have to pay to board.

Hours will be:

  • Monday through Wednesday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Thursday and Friday 7 a.m. to 2 a.m.
  • Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.
  • Sundays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Wait times between cars range from 10 to 30 minutes depending on the time of day.

See www.sunlinkstreetcar.com for more information about schedules and fares.

Kimberly Matas