Road runner: Sun Tran is working on Google app to help smartphone users navigate the system

2012-10-15T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T11:18:02Z Road runner: Sun Tran is working on Google app to help smartphone users navigate the systemBecky Pallack Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
October 15, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Let's say you're on a weekend trip in Phoenix or San Diego.

You're hanging out downtown when the kids say they want to go to the zoo.

You grab your smartphone, click on Google Maps and click on the transit button and - presto! - you've found the nearest bus stop and easy-to-follow routes to ride the bus to the zoo.

Why can't we do that in Tucson?

Sun Tran schedules have never been available using the handy Google Maps transit button.

But Sun Tran says it's working on it.

For a year or so, Sun Tran staff members have been putting bus data into a format Google can use, said Sun Tran spokeswoman Michele Joseph.

"We're really close," she said. The goal is to have it ready to use next year."

The Sun Tran team also is working on converting its website to a format that will work on your smartphone by the end of the year.

The number of hits on the SunTran.com website coming from phones has more than doubled since this time last year, Joseph said.

"We're looking forward to the time when we can launch these new tools," Joseph said.

Until then, you can use the regular SunTran.com website or pick up a paper copy of the Sun Tran Ride Guide, which is available all over town, including at libraries, malls and government buildings.

Or you can call Sun Tran's Customer Service Center at 792-9222 for questions like how to get to the zoo from downtown.

GIVE ADOT YOUR OPINION ON FUTURE TRAIN ROUTE

Would you like to ride a train from Tucson to Phoenix instead of driving on the interstate?

If you were to take the train, would you rather board in downtown Tucson, at the airport or in Marana?

Where else would you like the train to stop on its way to the big city to the north?

Now's the time to tell the Arizona Department of Transportation what you think.

ADOT is doing a feasibility study for a passenger train between Tucson and Phoenix, and its experts have identified six possible routes.

All start in Tucson and go along Interstate 10 to north of the Eloy area. But from there, ADOT would like to know where you think the train should go on its way to Phoenix. Some of the options are Sacaton, Maricopa, Chandler, Coolidge, Queen Creek and Florence.

Your input will help ADOT pick two or three routes as finalists. ADOT will pick the winning route next year.

Go to azdot.gov/passengerrail to take a survey, or give feedback at a booth on the University of Arizona mall on Nov. 10 or at the Marana Holiday Festival on Dec. 1.

More planning and environmental studies - and also fundraising - would need to happen before the train becomes a reality.

ROAD Q

James Kelly says he's seen several Tucson Police Department officers talking on cellphones while driving squad cars and thinks they are setting a poor example. "What is TPD's policy concerning the use of cellphones while driving?" he asks.

A: TPD has no policy that prohibits using cellphones while driving, said Sgt. Maria Hawke. "However, we are expected to abide by all traffic laws unless there is a specific law enforcement exception."

The city's texting-while-driving ban has been in place for six months. Talking on a cellphone while driving isn't safe, but it also isn't illegal.

Send your Road Q questions by email to roadrunner@azstarnet.com or to 4850 S. Park Ave., Tucson, AZ 85714. Please include first and last names.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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