Streetcar operating costs

Helen Marshall sent this in the other day:


An article about the streetcar project in yesterday’s Times notes that the operating costs for Sun Metro will be an estimated $2.5 million per year.
So..that is 2.5 million riders at $1 per ride…or 1.25 million at $2 per ride..or 500,000 riders at $5 per ride..
Wadda ya think will happen?

20 Responses to Streetcar operating costs

  1. The Oracle says:

    I and this household will ride it ONCE. For fun.
    But, not to Go-Anywhere. Just from Kern Place . . . to downtown and back.
    After the locals ride it ONCE, like an amusement ride, we’ll have to wait for relatives to come to town to bother. . . Riding it again.
    Like I know people that moved to LA and they ONLY go back to Disneyland with relatives from Out-Of-Town.
    As a REAL form of transportation, I can’t see anyone using it daily to go to work.
    The buses are quicker and can take an alternate route if there is an accident or construction blockage.
    There is ALWAYS construction on ONE or more of the streets on its route so it will not be running a lot of the time. It can’t DETOUR.
    Amusement ride is what it is.


  2. Just another toy for the benefit of a very few, paid for by the many. Yes, I know that this is paid for by a federal grant, but that does not make it a wise expenditure, does it? I expect that we will be subsidizing it forever, or until it falls apart due to El Paso neglect.


  3. Retired boomer says:

    Federal grants are ‘our’ money, that is, tax dollars. Gov’t had no money unleds it is taken from us. Street car project = waste


  4. henry ford says:

    Oracle has it right.


  5. Old Fart says:

    In the past when this street car project was being considered, other than a few voices raising concern, there was no community ‘uproar’ over this issue. There was no ‘in depth’ digging by the city’s two self promoting newspapers, so now we are stuck with it. In contrast just look at the Times now constant coverage of the proposed arena, where the street car will pass right next to.

    The major portion of the construction money came from state and Feds sources, but the ‘operating costs’ are the city’s to cover. So posters are correct to surface the ‘operating costs’ problem, and will ‘daily ridership’ actually cover these expenses? If not, will the city be forced to use ‘slight of hand tricks’ to make up the difference?

    One westside city rep wants to expand the street car line into Juarez, so that’s something people better keep an eye on.

    For the $97 million it cost to build this thing, that money could have been used to take the toll off that westside Border Highway West project that is now under construction. Also, suspect there are likely pressing state roadway projects in your areas, where these funds could have benefited El Paso.

    Hope Brutus keeps following this street cars project, because I doubt the local self promoting newspapers will cover it.


    • Woody Bare says:

      The funding was specifically for a streetcar project. If El Paso had not taken it Houston or Austin would have. It wasn’t money for anything else. It is about time El Paso received funding for special projects like all of the other Texas big cities.
      The project is almost completed and under budget.


      • Old Fart says:

        Sorry ‘Woody Bare,’ but some residents were specifically told that’s not true. If you have a specific reference document which shows what you state, please provide it’s title, date, plus where it can be located at the city.


      • Disgusted says:

        And if you believe that you also believe that all the sports leagues insist that new stadiums be built downtown.


  6. anonymous says:

    What will happen? Revenue might cover expenses for the first year, but not after that. Also, there will be numerous accidents and injuries, resulting in lawsuits against the city and Sun Metro. And more traffic problems.


  7. Judy Maddox says:

    I lived here when the street cars were in use before they were high jacked by Mexico. Never did I ride a street car I grew up riding the Tigua Bus to town on Sats with friends from school to “shop” and go to the Library. Later it was the #5 bus from Loretta to five points then walk up to Richmond from there. I have not nor will I ride the bus or trolly and most people won’t either. Stop wasting tax dollars fix the roads. All roads lead downtown I am not going. I will shop out of town since there is nothing downtown Sent from my iPhone



  8. Old Gringo says:

    “major portion of the construction money came from state and Feds sources” Gee, doesn’t that mean ‘taxpayer money’? Aren’t El Paso folks taxpayers (at least many of us)? Means WE PAID FOR THE DAMN THING AND NOW WE GET TO PAY FOR OPERATING IT!


    • Old Fart says:

      Now please get real ‘Old Gringo’: if it wasn’t that important to register a vocal protest, back when this street car issue was being discussed by the city and MPO, bitching now seems a wasted after thought.

      Since El Paso is now stuck with this thing, blog posters can force a degree of ‘transparency’ and ‘accountability,’ by constantly asking city reps about the status of the street cars ‘monthly operating costs’ and associated passenger ‘revenue generation.’ Believe passenger fares only generate around 25 to 30 percent of the revenue stream. So the difference has to come from some place. Will it be from higher trolley fares; some additional state or Federal help; or funds generated else where by the city? Or will it require some ‘slight of hand’ accounting tricks?

      When it comes to Sun Metro fare increases, you can bet those opposed to higher fares will be at city council meetings to register their vocal protests!

      Many of the city reps have informative e-mail news’ letters they send out, and associated internet e-mail addresses where you can contact them. If you are that ‘pissed off’ about this issue, please register your disgust with them.

      Though it’s well after the fact, thank you Helen Marshall and Brutus for surfacing this street car issue! Time will tell if those who are now so ‘pissed off’ actually register their complaints with city officials.


      • Helen Marshall says:

        My efforts to raise concerns with my rep, otherwise known as Mr. Trolley, have been in vain. Once the trolley gets underway I will raise the operating costs with Mayor and Council, and probably be told “you’re out of time.”

        One snarky friend said we can advertise this to tourists as “take a ride through bedpan alley.” That will surely bring in enough riders to cover operating costs!


        • Old Fart says:

          Hi ‘Helen Marshall,’ and ‘thanks’ for your efforts, specifically: “My efforts to raise concerns with my rep, otherwise known as Mr. Trolley, have been in vain. Once the trolley gets underway I will raise the operating costs with Mayor and Council, and probably be told ‘you’re out of time.'” Please keep Brutus’ blog readers posted of your efforts.

          Suspect your ‘Mr. Trolley” rep, is the same one who wants to extend the street car route into Juarez. If he or the city tries to stiff you, just submit a Texas Open Records request, which can be done by email. Also inform the TV stations which seem sensitive to the local governments balking at answering these types of requests. KVIA TV has done some interesting reporting on passenger ridership on Sun Metro’s Mesa Street BRIO route.


  9. Woody Bare says:

    Sun Metro receives an enormous amount of federal funding. 2.5 million will be a great price to pay for.increased tourism and regular ridership.


    • Old Fart says:

      ‘Helen Marshall,’ if you are still monitoring this blog topic, there’s a pretty interesting September 16, 2012, El Paso INC article by reporter David Crowder, you might want to check out as you follow this street car issue. The subject is: “Downtown arena support tainted? City knew more than 500 comments bogus.”

      Please remember that you, Old Gringo, Judy Maddox, Anonymous, and the other blog posters, who have express ‘deep concern’ on this costly street car issue, are not powerless on this matter! If you should know Michael Patino, the citizen who initiated that ‘recall petition’ on former city Rep Niland over his Union Plaza concerns, he might tell you the mechanics of that ‘attention getting’ procedure. Old Niland sure got religion after Mr. Patino started collecting signatures!

      And here’s another thought, possibly Brutus might consider asking Mr. Patino to write an article for the blog.

      And possibly one of this blog’s EPISD contributor’s, Dan Wever, could also do an article on how he crafts his Texas Open Records requests.


      • Brutus says:

        Both would be welcome.


        • Helen Marshall says:

          Yes, I have written about that set of bogus comments, which were known even before the bond election but seem to have elicited zero comment other than Crowder’s article…one more sign that the “arena” was a set-up from the beginning, by who exactly we may not know but can make some informed guesses. Here’s the link:


          • Old Fart says:

            ‘Helen Marshall’ here’s another thought. Because of the number of people who have expressed strong concerns, just like you, over this street car issue; that tells me there maybe enough citizens to mount a ‘guerrilla style’ recall effort.

            Before Chuck Mattox was elected county judge, believe a bunch of concerned citizens like Ray Gilbert, local realtors, and upset citizens mounted some kind of recall petition initiative. Believe they ran a ‘fill out petition’ in the Times, plus that weekly supplement which comes in the mail. All a person had to do, was write in their voter information on this cut out form, and send it to the address listed.

            So here’s a QUESTION for Brutus. If a citizen made a one page, fill in recall petition form, could you, David K, Max Powers, and Zorro, have it listed on your blog forums, without legal penalty to you?

            If something like this might be workable, possibly a hand full of volunteers might be able to pull this type of ‘guerrilla style’ recall off at very low cost. Brutus, wonder if Mr. Patino thinks it can be done?

            Any comments or suggestions would certainly be welcome.


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