Downtown ridership drops after trolleys stop running - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Downtown ridership drops after trolleys stop running

The number of people riding those routes has dropped more than 50 percent. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) The number of people riding those routes has dropped more than 50 percent. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
Because the buses cannot drive on certain stretches of Main Street, the routes have changed. (Photo Source: MATA) Because the buses cannot drive on certain stretches of Main Street, the routes have changed. (Photo Source: MATA)
(WMC) - It has been one week since hybrid electric buses replaced trolleys in Downtown Memphis, and in that time the number of people riding those routes has dropped more than 50 percent.
 
Two trolley fires that happened just six months apart forced Memphis Area Transit Authority to shut down the trolleys for the first time in two decades.

"Choices include a complete renovation of the existing fleet," Tom Fox, Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) said. "A new fleet of heritage trolleys and retrofitting them, much like the work done 21 years ago, or updating to a newer more modern system of vehicles."

Since then, green hybrid buses have taken over the trolley routes. The buses make the same stops and the same times, but they are not carrying the same number of passengers.

"It's probably been slightly over 50 percent loss of riders," MATA spokesperson Alison Burton said.

Even though the cost and time frames to ride MATA are the same downtown, more than half of those riders are gone in a week's time during the summer, when ridership is usually at its highest.

Confusion may be contributing to the problem. The new buses cannot drive on the Main Street mall or stop at the mall's trolley stops, but the buses will stop everywhere else on the same schedule, with a slight modification to the route.

Click here for a look at the new downtown route map: http://ftpcontent4.worldnow.com/wmctv/alttrolleymap.pdf  

The trolleys are not expected to be back any time soon. 

"We've given an estimate of up to six months, obviously we hope to get them back sooner than that," Burton said.

Downtown trolley information

Main Street Line: This shuttle will operate about every 10-15 minutes.

Service hours: Monday-Thursday from 7 a.m. to 10:40 p.m., Friday from 7 a.m. to 11:40 p.m., Saturday from 8:20 a.m. to 12 a.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.

Riverfront Line: This shuttle will operate about every 20 minutes.

Service hours: Monday-Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Madison Line: This shuttle will operate about every 20 minutes.

Service hours: Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday there is no service.

Copyright 2014 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

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