In a letter to the editor in last week’s paper, a tourist lamented his inability to find a parking spot anywhere near downtown and his surprise at the high cost of tickets for trolley his family ended up taking ($6 each, one way). He noted seeing trolleys with empty seats. Notably, they chose not to return to downtown the next day. He suggested that a lower ticket cost of say $1 would fill seats and benefit tourists, businesses and the locals.
I think he is exactly right. Convenient, affordable transit to town is the only feasible option if the goal is to increase tourist visits, which of course benefits the entire community. Downtown simply does not have the capacity to handle more private vehicles (and it doesn’t help that there are so many huge cars/trucks these days!) To make major changes in an attempt to accommodate more private vehicles downtown would threaten the very character that draws folks and probably prove futile anyway.
Even if it was necessary to subsidize an improved transport service (from some of the taxes businesses pay?) including possibly additional modes such as mini-buses, the payback would be great. We’d have happier tourists more likely to return, less congestion, less infringement on surrounding residential parking and more foot traffic, including locals.
As a very big bonus we could significantly reduce climate altering emissions. If the transport vehicles were electric and charged at the outlying parking lot(s) by onsite solar panels, we would really have something to brag about!