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San Mateo may cut free downtown shuttle service

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  • 5/31 Redwood City Daily
    Published Friday, May 31, 2002, in the Redwood City Daily News Trolley funding may get cut By Edward Carpenter Daily News Staff Writer San Mateo is paying $7
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 2, 2002
      Published Friday, May 31, 2002, in the Redwood City Daily News

      Trolley funding may get cut

      By Edward Carpenter
      Daily News Staff Writer

      San Mateo is paying $7 to $11 per person per ride for two trolleys
      that roam the downtown area, often empty, and may have to be cut
      because it's so expensive, said Mayor Sue Lempert yesterday.

      "I go downtown daily and never see anyone on it," Lempert told the
      Daily News.

      Lempert said she asked for "hard numbers" on riders and how much the
      service costs, which will be presented at Monday's City Council
      meeting.

      While ridership has increased from 1,233 in January to 2,293 in
      April, the city paid about $7.60 for each rider in its best month.

      "It's a lot of money," Lempert said. The city pays on average about
      $17,420 per month for the service which serves an estimated 1,468
      riders per month.

      Lempert said she didn't want to do away with the service, but it may
      not make economic sense to continue renewing it.

      "It's unfortunate this isn't working," Lempert said. "It's a really
      expensive thing for the city to be doing."

      Lempert said the city has a commitment with downtown businesses to do
      something special during the construction of the new parking
      structure and cinema, but she said a new idea, such as taxi vouchers,
      may be called for in this circumstance.

      "If it's not going to be used, we've got to find another way,"
      Lempert said.

      One trolley runs a circular route in downtown San Mateo and out to
      the hotels on the Bayfront, and the other is available to pick up
      groups of 10 or more and bring them into downtown, officials said.

      The council will consider whether to continue with the trolley
      programs and what hours it should run. The meeting begins 8 p.m.
      Monday.
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