Over the past 13 months, the Loop Trolley regularly traveled a 2.2-mile route from the Missouri History Museum to the Delmar Loop and back again several days each week. But on Sunday afternoon, it made its final few laps along those tracks — at least for now — before going out of service due to funding problems.
St. Louis on the Air connected with people who were gathered at the history museum stop that day to bid the trolley farewell, many of them hoping to ride it for the first and potentially last time.
And while the trolley struggled to attract robust ridership over the course of its months in operation, it faced a different challenge on its last day: There were so many would-be riders that some were turned away. In addition, only one of the two operating trolley vehicles was in service Sunday, and it encountered technical issues that caused significant delays on its final trip.
Thursday’s show included the perspectives of several St. Louis-area residents who were there, and host Sarah Fenske also spoke with St. Louis Public Radio’s Kae Petrin about what’s next for the trolley operation. Leaders at Bi-State Development Agency, which oversees Metro Transit, are expected to consider a proposal later this month that would involve Bi-State eventually re-launching the trolley as part of its overall transit operations.
A number of listeners took to Twitter to offer their perspectives on that idea:
I believe a bi-state takeover may be the best option. It would be great if they could ask local businesses and a big sponsor (SW Airlines Trolley?) to give out free tickets to ride for at least a few years, just as bi-state did for metro-link downtown for the first several years.
— Gary Kreie (@ZGare) January 2, 2020
Absolutely not. It will require cuts in BiState bus service to fund the tourist service. BiState is a public transit agency. Loop Trolley Folly is not public transit. The Mayor and head of BiState serves on Trolly Board. They want bus riders to bail them out.
— 7th Ward Woman (@stl7thward) January 2, 2020
Do we even have an option of not bringing back on? How would not brining it back on affect our ability to receive federal transportation dollars?
— Akif Cogo (@AkifCogo) January 2, 2020
They should get serious about a North/South metro before they do anything else. If the trolley connected from the Loop to Arch, it might become more useful.
— Martin Casas (@MARTIN_CASAS) January 2, 2020
“St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.
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