San Mateo may cut free downtown shuttle service
- 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
Lempert said she asked for "hard numbers" on riders and how much the
service costs, which will be presented at Monday's City Council
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,"
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.