It's nice to see the old team back at work on the streetcar! I mean, I know they have been at work all the years of my light attention, but tuning back in now as I am I see good ol' Mike English presiding over the Tampa Historic Streetcar meeting.
The meeting was apparently held February 15 and went pretty compared to how I remembered them back when the system was new. Not surprisingly some of the topics brought up were exactly the same as those punctuating the docket in 2005.
The CSX crossing insurance is still a costly thorn to the system finances, though in this meeting they seem to have eked out a bit of savings in some recent negotiations.
A while ago the system was granted funding which enabled it to pilot early morning commuter service, presumably with the idea that people might board at the parking garage in Ybor and ride the streetcar to the downtown core, or that commuters living in the Channelside lofts might.
That pilot program is ending according to discussion in the video and the board is contemplating methods to continue financing it, at least beyond the mere six month period. In the video several ideas are mulled to expand the commuter proving ground but if none pass muster with the city, it sounds like the experiment will end.
There's no hiding that the commuter experiment yielded lackluster results. But equally important, and as per above, there has been no time to develop rider trust in the option. The experiment was (or still is) important to gauge a core "veracity" but everyone understands that much more development and investment in the system is required to take the system seriously as a worker's commuting instrument.
The system needs to run more often and it needs to expand. Which is to say, it needs money and love to do both. Turns out, it's just what everyone is thinking.
Earlier today HART tweeted out about "Invision: Tampa Streetcar" which aims to deeply contemplate a conversion or perhaps dual integration to a modern "light rail like" system. Or, put more simply, a conversion to a modern streetcar system featuring modern car stock.
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