Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

TROLLEYS; Lost Money for a Reason

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

TROLLEYS; Lost Money for a Reason

Article excerpt

There is some appeal in the proposal, made by one City Council member, to consider eliminating the downtown trolleys as a cost-cutting measure. After all, they're free -- and they still don't seem to attract many riders.

However, the trolley service is part of the solution to a bigger problem, not an end unto itself. With parking space scarce, the city decided several years ago to encourage courthouse employees and jurors to park at the sports complex. The trolleys ferry them back and forth -- and to a few other locations in the downtown area.

Without the trolleys, parking wouldn't work at the sports complex -- and they have to run at frequent intervals, often with few riders, because jurors finish their work at various times throughout the day.

Jacksonville Transportation Authority spokesman Mike Miller says the JTA spends about $346,500 a year running the trolleys and collects $91,500 in parking fees. That's a $255,000 loss. But government services typically lose money, and -- at a quarter in revenues for every dollar spent -- the losses are in line with other JTA services. …

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