Thursday, August 21, 2008

EDITORIAL: $.25 fare better idea for trolley buses

According a news article in the Aug. 21 Intelligencer Journal, Red Rose Transit Authority (RRTA) will offer a $.25 fare rate on all buses for the month of September. It's executive director, Dave Kilmer explained "We want the community to have a chance to try RRTA as a part of their daily commute ..."

Perhaps such a system wide discount for a day or even a week would have promotional merit, but how can RRTA afford not to collect most of its revenue for an entire month?

But more important is the implicit and correct message that a free or near free trolley bus loop would generate far greater riders, something that street cars at a regular fare are unlikely to achieve, given the low level of patronage of the faux trolleys already in operation.

NewsLanc has urged that the trolley buses be free, at least as an experiment, and rerouted to service from the Water Street Refuge Mission to the south, to the Amtrak station to the north.

If the reduction or elimination of trolley bus fares spurs ridership, tax payers would save $20 million in up front streetcar costs, operating subsidies would not be any greater than with street cars, clogging the most important north / south downtown streets would be avoided, and the public would get a real ride rather than being taken for a ride!