Taking a Ride

How long do you think the trolley will run every day? How long, till, like the Wyler Aerial Tramway, it only runs on weekends?

When was the last time you were up the tramway? The tramway’s pretty cool. At least as cool as the trolley will be. Cooler.

I rode the trolleybuses in Valparaiso.

Old school, electric trolleys. Rubber tired, no tracks, but the driver has to follow the wires. Sometimes there’s a disconnect, and the driver has to get out and jigger the rods.

They’ve got a real mass transit system there. Buses. Trolleys. Funiculars. Taxis with fixed routes, where you pile in, cheek to cheek, six of you in a car at least ten years old, the size of a Corolla, some car brand you never heard of, and the driver’s in a bad mood because his futbol team is losing the game on the radio, and fuck you, you killed Allende.

In Valparaiso, you ride the trolleybuses to get around, not out of sense of nostalgia. In Valparaiso, the trolleys are authentic. Our city government is pretending real hard to make El Paso authentic.

Our trolley will run a route already serviced by four other bus routes. Downtown to UTEP. All the other bus routes go further, so we won’t be able to discontinue them.

What about all those new hotels downtown? Will demand for hotels increase because we have more hotels? Or will we just spread the existing customers a little thinner?

And bars? Are there more bar customers if you open more bars?

When Whole Foods opened it put a big dent in Sprouts’ business.

Think about this on Thanksgiving Day: The pie isn’t getting any bigger because we slice in more pieces.


  1. Meanwhile, our young people continue to exit the city in droves. Our brain drain is real, and it is not going to stop just because we build a trolley to/from nowhere.

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