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.
Bicycle registration is important for anyone who loves their bike and wants to make full use of bike-related services and amenities at the University of Arizona.
By registering your bike, you will have access to bike valet, as well as secure bike parking in lockers or enclosures.
Also, should your bike be stolen or impounded and recovered by UAPD or PTS, they can use the registration to identify you as the proper owner of the bike and return your bike to you.
Students and employees can receive FREE bicycle related services from our campus Bicycle Station located next to the campus Bike Valet. Hours of operation are Monday - Thursday from 10AM - 2PM (excluding University Holidays). The Bicycle Station is operated by Parking and Transportation Services in partnership with Campus Rec.
For more secure bike parking, you can rent a bicycle locker or a space in an enclosure. A bicycle locker is a secure box that fits your bike; it can only be opened with a key. Bicycle enclosures are security-fenced, gated areas that contain bike racks; the enclosures can only be accessed with an individual security code.
The Cat Wheels Bike Program is a PTS initiative designed to provide a free bicycle loan system for the University of Arizona. The program was developed to help students move around campus in a quick, safe, and sustainable fashion.
Bikes can be checked out from the cashier booth of any campus garage (except South Stadium Garage), the Outdoor Rec area of the Campus Rec Center, or either of the campus bike valet stations. Bikes must be returned to the original check-out location.
Students can purchase an annual Tugo membership for only $40! (Normally $80)
The annual membership is valid for 365 days from the day you enter your activation code on the Tugo website. Once you make your purchase, you will receive an email within 2 business days that includes your unique membership activation code and instructions on how to activate your membership.
Annual membership includes access to 330 bikes at 36 stations on and near the University of Arizona campus. Make unlimited 30-minute trips on Tugo. Return the bike to any station. For more information, including a How to Ride video, visit the Tugo website.
The CatTran is the free 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 U-Pass is a discounted transit SunGo pass available to University of Arizona students, faculty, and staff. We offer semester, annual, regular, and express products as well as a physical card or mobile pass available through GoTucson Mobile Transit app. A U-Pass provides unlimited rides on the City of Tucson Sun Tran Bus System and Sun Sun Link 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 and Transportation uses Permit-by-Plate, a license plate recognition equipment that provides virtual permits through a vehicle's license plate instead of paper permits or plastic hangtags. License Plate Recognition (LPR) equipment increases parking efficiency on campus, provides convenience for the parking customer, and greatly reduces the amount of paper and plastic waste.
Parking is limited and unfortunately not everyone will be able to obtain a permit. Contact Customer Relations at (520) 626-7275 to check on availability and other options such as the waiting list. To request a permit, log into the Parking Portal with your NetID (do not create a guest login).
For the Fall 2021 semester, Parking & Transportation Services (PTS) offers eligible UArizona students, faculty, and staff free Lyft rides starting and ending on campus ONLY. Rides are available Monday - Friday from 5 PM to midnight.
Each month, eligible riders may get up to 6 free rides a month as funding permits. Rides will be covered up to a $10 maximum per ride. For rides more than $10, students, faculty and staff will be responsible for the remaining balance. Prices may be impacted by distance, traffic, time of day, special events and prime time surcharge.
Please Note: Once the monthly funds have been exhausted, free rides will be suspended until the next month.
Read more about this service on this PTS page.