A Solution for Declining Trolley Ridership

It was reported yesterday in the San Diego Union-Tribune that San Diego Trolley ridership has declined by 6.5 million fares, which means about 500 fewer people per hour (assuming 18 hours of operation per day) are no longer are using the modern San Diego Trolley.

We believe San Diego’s historic Class 1 streetcars can help reverse this local trend.

The San Diego Trolley stretches out across San Diego county, but is not conveniently accessible to the majority of San Diego’s historic inner city suburbs.

By connecting these areas to the 12th & Imperial trolley station downtown with beautiful and fun historic streetcars, people will be much more inclined to use them to get to and from downtown.

People will have a reason to leave their cars at home when they can get downtown the fun way, on big, roomy historic streetcars. With time, many people who care about doing what they can to reduce pollution will make a habit of using San Diego’s fixed rail system regularly.

It is essential that the trip from our inner city historic districts to downtown be fun, convenient, and easily accessible, or people simply won’t use mass transportation. Buses have very little character and are utilitarian, noisy, and smog-producing. In addition there is a stigma because buses are viewed as the mode of transportation for those in our society who can’t afford a car.

Today, most people who live in our historic districts can afford a car, if not several cars, so if you want them to consider using mass transit, you need to offer them something more exciting than a bus. Our future requires that we reduce use of fossil fuel burning vehicles and go with clean, green, environmentally friendly technology. In light of that criteria, fixed-rail electric vehicles seem to be the most viable option.

The Class 1 streetcars were designed and built to move patrons to and from the 1915 California Panama Exposition, in Balboa Park. Designed with safety as a top priority, they were also built to be capable of moving huge crowds quickly and comfortably. The Class 1 streetcars were known to commonly carry as many as 100 patrons at a time (including those who stood). These streetcars were designed with the architecture of Balboa Park in mind, and are legitimate works of art, designed in the Arts & Crafts style. They were made by master craftsmen, with polished cherry wood interiors, and gold leaf decoration inside and out. They were made to fun and beautiful, and to move all classes of people from the very wealthy to the unemployed. Everyone got to enjoy the open air and great views from large panoramic windows. The Class 1’s were designed specifically with San Diego’s mild climate in mind, as people in San Diego don’t have to ride inside cramped enclosed vehicles, but can instead enjoy a much-preferable open-air ride.

Developing a historic line with the Class 1 streetcars would be a beautiful way to blend the legacy of a unique historic transportation system with our state of the art modern trolley and connect many more communities. In addition, people from all over the county who already have access to the modern trolley system can use it to get to and from the historic Class 1 streetcar system.

The historic Class 1 streetcars will also become a destination in themselves and bring more business into downtown as well as to all of San Diego’s inner city suburbs.  These fun streetcars are also the ideal mass transportation system to serve Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo with fixed rail.

As always, for more information about San Diego’s unique opportunity to bring back our historic streetcar system using our unique Class 1 streetcars, please visit our website: sandiegohistoricstreetcars.org