Clang Clang Clang

Will people park their cars and take the trolley from downtown to UTEP?

Currently there are four bus routes that service the Chihuahuita to UT El Paso commute. And that’s not counting the impending Brio. If people prefer public transit, it’s available. I doubt that people will park their cars to jump on the trolley if they’re not taking the bus. Maybe a few will, lured by nostalgia or novelty. But I suspect it won’t be enough to justify the expense of maintaining and operating the streetcars, estimated to be $2.5 million, as reported by furloughed Deputy City Manager Jane Shang in the April 6 edition of the El Paso Inc.

Operating and maintaining the system is estimated to cost $2.5 million a year, she said, but the cost will be offset by fare revenue, increases in sales tax revenues and the elimination of redundant circulator bus routes in Downtown.

“We will be able to absorb all the costs,” she said.

If you look at the circulator bus routes (here and here), it’s hard to see any redundancy created by the trolleys. Any increased sales tax revenue created by the trolley will likely be offset by a similar reduction in sales tax revenue caused by eliminating the “redundant circulator bus routes in Downtown.”

Does anybody over there at the City have any common sense? Based on past results (and past results may not indicate future performance), financial projections aren’t their strong suit.

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