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Ailing Loop Trolley Will Run Until January With Temporary Financial Relief

The Loop Trolley during a test drive on June 13, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo
St. Louis Public Radio
The Loop Trolley during a test drive on June 13, 2018.

Updated Nov. 7 with a statement from Bi-State Development —

The struggling Loop Trolley has received enough funding to keep running until January. 

The money comes from the Loop Trolley Transportation Development District, a political group that advocates for the trolley. It will keep the trolley operating with reduced hours. Without additional funding, the trolley could cease operations after Jan. 1. 

The Loop Trolley Co. previously requested $200,000 from St. Louis County to keep the trolley running for the rest of the year. It asked for another $500,000 to operate next year. But the St. Louis County Council declined to introduce legislation that would have approved any financial assistance. 

St. Louis County Council Presiding Officer Ernie Trakas, R-south St. Louis County, called the trolley “an abysmal failure” last month. He said the request for financial assistance looked like “a ploy to initiate what’s going to be pointed to as a perpetual subsidy of that trolley.”

Representatives of the transportation development district did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It’s not clear how much money the trolley has received. 

Loop Trolley Co. Board President John Meyer Jr. said in a statement: “We are thrilled to be able to continue running the Trolley through the upcoming holiday season and we welcome all riders.”

Meyer also noted that the Loop Trolley Co. has enlisted Bi-State Development to come up with a strategy that could keep the trolley running in the long term. 

“We are grateful to Bi-State and the members of the Loop Trolley Transportation Development District Board for committing to work together to preserve this valuable asset, and we look forward to assisting them in any way we can,” Meyer said.

Bi-State Development said in an email that they "have been asked to evaluate viable operating options aimed at avoiding default." 

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Kae Petrin covers public transportation and housing as a digital reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.