Delmar Loop Trolley

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First unread post1619 posts
U City's not doing anything wrong. As others have pointed out, these are all rather minor issues which the Trolley folks have known about for a long time; they just didn't take U City officials seriously. Well, they called their bluff, and the trolley folks are now (finally) taking action, and hope to have the line fixed by Friday.

https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/gov ... op-story-2
chaifetz10 wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 10:30 am
And to add on to your point, this mismanagement and disorganization should not be rewarded with ideas to expand it. If the Trolley can't respond to just two valid issues from UCity, how/why could we ever expect it to expand in the city?

Honestly, the best thing (in my opinion) would be for the Trolley management company to dissolve and for this to be managed by the city or Bi-State in some capacity. It needs to integrate with existing transit if it's ever going to expand past its current route.
Completely agree. I don't even think St. Louis should be pursuing any modern streetcar, extension of this one or not, until the North/South LRT is up and running. Unless a private entity comes in with some serious cash, the city's efforts need to be focused on N/S.
I rode the Loop Trolley from the U. City library stop to the history museum on Saturday. It was very crowded. One guy got on wearing a stingy brim fedora and a jacket and tie. He looked like he had simply been waiting at the stop for a trolley for 52 years. My wife overheard a woman in an enormous fur coat say she was trying to get to Florissant. ?? People seemed to have a great time and I sensed a lot of enthusiasm and excitement. Quite a contrast to the incessant negative coverage of this project. I couldn't see much because I was standing but I was pleasantly disoriented by riding through a very familiar part of town in a new way. The pace is indeed stately, and the sensation of turning corners and riding through the switches reminded me of the streetcars in New Orleans. I was completely charmed by it, but like Johnny Cash, "I've got a thing about trains." Remember when Clayco donated half a million dollars to the project? Have a look at the "cow catcher" on this rig.

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Agreed. It seemed crowded and popular. Was out with a friend who didn't seem quite as excited about riding it as I, but I took a few pictures. And I promise, I will be back. With both my father and my grandmother. (The latter of whom remembers the originals.)

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NIMBYs for the come-from-behind hollow victory!
Every time I see a sign saying "no train horn" I wonder about the people that care more about their sleep than the life and safety of everyone that has to cross that space. NIMBYs of the very worst sort, yes.
I'll give it to them though, that horn is loud. I can hear it through my walls and I live a block away on Clara
I've driven in traffic with them now. They seem about in keeping with standard automotive horns and they're a heck of a lot quieter than typical railroad equipment. The thing that's surprising is they use them more than one would expect. Sure. They're loud enough to do the job I'd guess they're supposed to do: be heard in a car in traffic with them. No more than that, actually.
Yesterday was my first visit to the Loop since they began operating. Watched them glide back and forth from the coffee shop window. Have to say I'm a fan. They don't seem to be disrupting traffic much if at all, and I think they're actually helping to calm it a bit more. And boy are they pretty. They may not be actual transit but they really add something to the ambience.
I rode it this weekend. The cars themselves are nice. The operations are a mess, IMO.

The ticket machines don't start selling until noon. They instead show a message saying the trolley isn't operating. The trolley pulled up to the History Museum about two minutes before noon and there was a group of people needing tickets. But they literally couldn't start buying tickets until the moment the trolley was set to leave. So the very first run was delayed while people bought tickets.Dumb.

A man in front of me used cash and of course didn't realize the machine didn't give change. He was nice enough about it, but was ticked off before he even boarded.

The machines are awful. They're kind of like the automated parking machines, but a lot more complicated. It took like 7 or 8 steps to buy a ticket, and of course you could add multiple different types (adult/child/disabled) to the same physical ticket. Touch screens would have been nice; now you have to reconcile each instruction on the screen with little buttons below (things like "Press 1 if you want to buy an adult ticket or 2 for a reduced fare" or "Press the shopping cart icon to pay for your ticket now, or the plus sign to add another"). Why they couldn't spend the years and years leading up to the opening to finish the mobile app (that is apparently on the way) blows my mind.

Tickets have a QR-style code that, for whatever reason, doesn't scan easily on the train. Every person (self included) stood there waving it up and down under the LED before it finally 'took.' The driver leaned back and tried to help everyone, but her 'touch' was no better than anyone else's.

Literally every stop with passengers - EVERY ONE - had a problem with the vending machines. Whether it was user error or machine error (most were the former but there was at least one machine that was out of service) is immaterial. At each stop, the operator had to get out and help. And, she was clearly not empowered or able to solve simple problems. For example, at the machine that was broken, the family asked if they could just get off at their stop and buy their two-hour pass there, since they'd be riding back anyway. That should have been a no-brainer, but the operator clearly has no authority or ability to make that exception. Instead, she had them cross the street - while she left! - and wait a half hour for the next train (they wound up picking up the same train when it came back the other direction instead).

The horn was constant and LOUD, even from inside the car.

Something broke up in the driver's compartment along the way. Maintenance had to show up to fix it at the U City end. By that time, it was late for its return run. And of course, someone had an issue getting a ticket at that terminus, and it took more than five minutes to get him squared away.

All in all, a round trip took a full hour; an mind-blowing amount of time to cover that short distance. And knowing that the next trolley is a half hour wait away (one full hour after one of the cars went out of service this weekend; hopefully back this week) doesn't help.

I really tried to give Joe Edwards a pass on this, and pretty much have, regardless of the debacles leading to its opening. But that the ticketing issues weren't 100% resolved, that the operators are of little use, and that all the little planning issues weren't ironed out in the years it took to open, all concern me.
https://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/new ... ector.html
Citing figures from Federal Transit Administration Regional Administrator Mokhtee Ahmad, Sullivan, a University City resident, said the trolley counted 727 passengers for the 16 days it operated in January and 431 passengers for 12 days in February, as of Feb. 25. No figures were given for December.
Woof. With the weather and limited service, I wasn't expecting the numbers to be great, but that is abysmal.

I'm not sure what the final projections were, but I found an article from 2017 where they projected 340,000 riders in the first year. That would 932 per day. So far, it is 41 people per day of operation, and 21 people per calendar day.

I'm sure the numbers will go up in the spring and summer, but not enough to catch up with projections. I wonder how much of the operational budget was counting on fare collection. The article mentioned trying to find more sources of revenue. If that is possible, could the trolley be made free to ride? At this point, ticket revenue probably doesn't cover the costs associated with fare collection.
Has anyone observed how easy it is for someone in a wheelchair to use the trolley? My impression is that since they went with vintage cars both accessing it as well as maneuverability once on board might be a challenge.
Considering the entire route has easy access to free parking and is partially made redundant by Metrolink, the trolley will never see its projected ridership numbers. We will see how the warmer months do but making the trolley free would turn it into more than just a tourist gimmick. I currently live adjacent to the line and still have never found a reason to take the damn thing. A round trip for my girlfriend and I would cost $8, take significantly longer than just driving, and make us stand outside in the usually crappy St. Louis winter weather. Considering most of the residents along the line also have cars I would think they would have a similar attitude.

Maybe once the rest of the Loop develops a little more, the taxing district will provide enough funds to eliminate the fare altogether.
Grover wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 12:45 pm
I'm not sure what the final projections were, but I found an article from 2017 where they projected 340,000 riders in the first year. That would 932 per day. So far, it is 41 people per day of operation, and 21 people per calendar day.
I wager it'll see more use than some roads the state maintains.
I wonder if they’ve pondered renting out the trolleys for private parties....
quincunx wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:05 pm
Grover wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 12:45 pm
I'm not sure what the final projections were, but I found an article from 2017 where they projected 340,000 riders in the first year. That would 932 per day. So far, it is 41 people per day of operation, and 21 people per calendar day.
I wager it'll see more use than some roads the state maintains.
Hah, true.
GoHarvOrGoHome wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:20 pm
Considering the entire route has easy access to free parking and is partially made redundant by Metrolink, the trolley will never see its projected ridership numbers. We will see how the warmer months do but making the trolley free would turn it into more than just a tourist gimmick. I currently live adjacent to the line and still have never found a reason to take the damn thing. A round trip for my girlfriend and I would cost $8, take significantly longer than just driving, and make us stand outside in the usually crappy St. Louis winter weather. Considering most of the residents along the line also have cars I would think they would have a similar attitude.

Maybe once the rest of the Loop develops a little more, the taxing district will provide enough funds to eliminate the fare altogether.
They should just ban all street parking on Delmar where the trolley runs. Could also privatize all parking on and near the Loop.
GoHarvOrGoHome wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:20 pm
Considering the entire route has easy access to free parking and is partially made redundant by Metrolink, the trolley will never see its projected ridership numbers. We will see how the warmer months do but making the trolley free would turn it into more than just a tourist gimmick. I currently live adjacent to the line and still have never found a reason to take the damn thing. A round trip for my girlfriend and I would cost $8, take significantly longer than just driving, and make us stand outside in the usually crappy St. Louis winter weather. Considering most of the residents along the line also have cars I would think they would have a similar attitude.

Maybe once the rest of the Loop develops a little more, the taxing district will provide enough funds to eliminate the fare altogether.
I actually think the Loop Trolley is better off if the notion that transit is somehow involved would go away. It is a Loop development tool/tourist line first and foremost that I hope pays off for the loop.

But I also believe the Loop Trolley came up short in a very big way. It needs to go to the number one regional attraction in the St. Louis ZOO. Forest Park Forever can fund the last mile so to speak and I can't imagine operational cost would be that much greater. St. Louis Zoo has three million visitors and just attracting 5% of those visitors to do a trolley ride to & from the loop whether it be for lunch/dinner or free parking is a big plus and only strengthen the area as a whole

I also hope your right on taxing district develops enough to eliminate fares. Heck, FPP extends it to ZOO and Science center and see if the idea that Museum Taxing District picks up some of the operational tab.
^ Completely agree. They really do need to consider a stop further into Forest Park, or should have from the beginning. It just places a magnifying glass on how limited the system really is. So many people go to other spots in Forest Park, and a single contiguous system would make most sense. Now, what we have, is a Forest Park trolley, the Loop trolley, MetroLink, and Metro Buses operating all in the same area. What an unnecessary cluster-f***. Me, I love having to pay multiple fares just to get a handful of miles.