Why The Streetcars Don’t Work

If you take Sun Metro from the Glory Road Transfer Center to the Downtown Transfer Center, the bus leaves every 15 minutes, and the ride takes 9 minutes. The whole ride is about a mile and a half, and it costs $1.50.

The streetcar takes at least 20 minutes (at least), and it runs sporadically. And it also costs $1.50.

Frankly, for $1.50, I’ll walk a mile and half.

If you’re looking for transportation, the streetcar doesn’t make any sense. Take a bus. Walk. A mile and a half is no hill for a climber.

The only reason you might want to take the streetcar is entertainment. My kids love it. We live three blocks from a streetcar stop, and ride the whole route maybe once a month.

But the streetcar isn’t as exciting as a roller coaster. The streetcar isn’t even as entertaining as the slices of humanity you can witness on the bus. In short, the streetcar makes no sense either as transportation or entertainment.

Of course it’s never going to pay for itself, or come even close.

Remember, the Wyler Aerial Tramway was a lot cooler than the streetcars, and it only operated on weekends, and still had to shut down because it couldn’t make money to pay for its own maintenance.

And the streetcars are headed in the same direction. Soon we’ll start running them only for special events. Like the Scorpions at the Don Haskins Center. High school graduations. Booze cruises. Pretending that they’ll work for regular transportation is delusional.

The City of El Paso is poorly managed, and if you expect anything better from the people running the city, you will be disappointed.



  1. It’s all good if they actually establish booze cruises. That might actually work. But put the gross profit toward operating expenses and not toward dreaming up new ways to spend money.

  2. I rode the streetcar last week just to see the ridership.
    There were 9 community college students riding who live in second ward. They said it takes them to the Arizona street campus. On a bus they have to change buses at the Haskins transfer center or get off on Mesa & Arizona and walk. They added that the ride is not bouncy like a bus.
    One wheelchair bound elderly man who likes the convenience, the smooth ride and he can face forward. Some of the buses require wheel chairs face to the back. He said he can’t read upcoming street signs and it nauseates him.
    There was a vision impaired middle aged man and he likes the smooth ride and it takes him in front of the downtown library and convention center and then back to the Haskins transfer center. He mentioned that the Brio is so bumpy that people slide off their seats.
    There were 9 elderly riding and they said they like the smooth ride and it was just as convenient as a bus.
    20 total riders and before I got off people got on and off and there were 9 as I left.
    It is serving a public good for our disabled, elderly, students and others. Many of those riders commented that they would like the Brio replaced by the comfortable streetcar.

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