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Humming along: Streetcar ridership besting projections

In the first week of paid ridership, Tucsonans took 28,000 trips aboard the new Sun Link streetcar system. With an average of more than 3,900 riding daily, the system's early ridership is more than the projection of 3,600. Officials said they expect ridership to increase as UA students return.
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4 comments on this story

1
1770 comments
Aug 5, 2014, 12:35 pm
-5 +1

I took my beautiful niece out on “The Trolley” (as she calls it) again on Saturday. I have a few more complaints…

First off, dsmith25 was right…it is indeed being used. Every trolley I was on was filled to near-capacity, if not capacity. While this may be considered good news by some, I say it exposes even more mismanagement of the project. To be fair, this might be because it is still new and we’re still in the honeymoon phase. But, if this ridership continues, then “every 20 minutes” is not nearly enough to meet demand. There’s 8 cars in the fleet. There’s no good reason why 5 should have to stay in the garage when there’s that much demand for the trolley. Speaking of every 20 minutes…it is still bullshit.

I took my niece to the Book Stop on 4th. We got off the Trolley and went right in. Within 15 minutes another two trolleys went by. They really need to get this interval thing figured out, and find a way to keep them more evenly spaced out.

When we got on the trolley, we did so at Congress and 6th. We boarded there because the fare box at the stop at Broadway and 6th was broken. A week in, and already a fare box is broken. At Congress and 6th, the scroll sign with the crappy poetry had been removed. I also saw another sign removed at Broadway and Main. WTF??? Considering this project cost about 4 times then it really should have, and that it took two years longer than projected, I expect near-perfection once it is finally here. They really should be doing much better.

(continued…)

2
1770 comments
Aug 5, 2014, 12:37 pm
-7 +1

(...continued)

On my trolley ride, I got to see the big dirt lot I was so excited to see that is west of I-10. While we’re circling it, I overheard two gentlemen saying that this is where the ball park should have been. In retrospect, I have to admit that they’re probably right. What I also overheard is the trolley automated speaker announcing the incorrect stops. It was something like five stops behind. $197 million down the train, and yet another problem? You gotta be kidding me!

Once I was at the end of the line, I saw what was on the other side of the dirt lot…Romero’s office. Now it all makes perfect sense as to why the trolley had to go that far west. The corruption in this town is appalling. Speaking of corruption, right across the street from Romero’s office is a plaque commemorating who really gives her her orders…Grijalva. I thought, this makes sense. It is a project we didn’t need, we cant afford, the route was at least partially determined by corruption, it was over budget, it was two years too late, and several things are broken one week in to service. That fits absolutely perfectly into the legacy that Grijalva has built for himself.

Speculating here, but I’ll bet anything that big dirt lot is owned by some “friends of the program” who wanted to see the trolly surround their lot to artificially increase the value of that dirt.

My niece says she’s done with downtown. I think I am, too. I just wanted a couple of rides on the trolley to see first-hand what was supposedly worth $197 million, and all I did was confirm that I’m right that it is indeed a financial disaster for this community, plagued by mismanagement and supported by kool-aid drinking cheerleaders.

A perfect fit for Tucson. :(

3
4 comments
Aug 5, 2014, 2:08 pm
-0 +5

When i saw there were comments on this article I thought to myself, “Let’s see what Brett has to complain about”.

I agree with you that intervals on Friday and Sturday night need to be increased to 10mins, that is a valid complaint. Additionally, they do need to work on timing as there has been some inconsistency. Finally, some pay systems and other features were not functional and that issue needs to be assesed.

Overall however, the system is running rather well and they are meeting the needs of their estimated ridership. As weeks and months go by, the problems listed above will improve and the experience will get better.

I have been a passenger 4 seperate times since it launched and I am pleasently surprised by what I see. On sunday, I brought my father downtown for lunch and we took a ride. On that ride, an older couple were watching the buildings go by and I hear the husband say to the wife, “We should come down here more often and explore all these places”  That is exactly what needs to happen! More people need to come downtown and realize that the revitalization is taking place and the Streetcar is and will be a catalyst of that.

4
1770 comments
Aug 6, 2014, 8:54 am
-4 +2

@dsmith25

Well, I am pleased you can at least partially see what I’m saying.

After riding the trolley on Saturday, I have a better understanding of the chaos of the timing and intervals. When the westbound trolley I was on was attempting to come out of the 4th avenue underpass. It took us at least four light cycles that I counted to finally get through.

My biggest complaint about this whole project from the beginning until now is the money. My second biggest complaint is the fact that the traffic lights aren’t in sync with the trolleys. I never understood the desire for the permanency of the tracks. All these years, I thought to myself “well, at least the choo choo trains can be synced to the traffic lights like Phoenix’s is”. Once I realized that wasn’t the case, in my mind this whole entire thing became pointless. If the trolleys aren’t going to have right-of-way, there really is no point to having tracks…none.

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