CREATED Oct. 3, 2013
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - For those of you who thought you'd never see the day, it's probably a bit of a shock.
This morning Tucsonans were greeted by the city's one and only modern street car, rolling down tucson roads all on its own.
While you can't hop on just yet, project managers say it's a big step.
With no one pushing or pulling, Tucson's modern streetcar is hitting the streets.
"Is it kind of strange to see?" asked 9OYS reporter Maggie Vespa.
"Yeah, I wasn't expecting it," said one man.
"Pretty surprising to see it," said another.
And it's getting a lot of second glances.
Vespa asked, "Thinking of abandoning the bike and hopping on?"
"Almost," he said.
Well you can't, yet.
We still have another year to go.
Officials say this self-sustaining test-run is just as much about the car as it is the drivers.
"They're getting familiar with the vehicle," said deputy transportation director Carlos de Leon. "They have had classroom training and been in the yard training with the vehicle. Now they're going out on the route."
Or at least they're getting familiar with part of it.
Thursday Tucsons' one and only streetcar was confined to cruising 4th Avenue switching directions near 9th Stree and at University and 3rd.
The full route will stretch further into the U of A campus, downtown and beyond, where the roads will be crowded.
"We have pedestrians that are sharing it and bicyclists," said de Leon. "We want to make sure everyone is cautious."
"Feels like a real city all of a sudden," said Sabine Blase, owner of Café Passe.
For business owners it's a sight for sore, eager eyes.
"More mobility downtown. It's a good thing all around," she said.
She says the anticipation builds toward breathing new life into downtown.
"Do you think you'll be riding it once it's done?" Vespa asked one Tucson man.
"Oh, I definitely will be. I'll be pushing other old people out of the way," he said.
The city will go through this testing process with each of the eight streetcars.
Number two is expected to arrive in the next couple weeks.