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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Trolley must scale back

Ashlee Salamon/ Arizona Daily Wildcat
Ashlee Salamon
Ashlee Salamon/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

It’s been two years since Old Pueblo Trolley Inc. announced plans to extend its current route into downtown Tucson as a part of the Fourth Avenue Underpass reconstruction.

As trolley rails and overhead wires lined downtown streets, it seemed that service to the area would finally become a reality when the underpass reopened on Aug. 20, 2009.

But after only two weeks, Old Pueblo Trolley scaled back service to downtown due to a lack of funding and volunteers, said Dick Guthrie, president of Old Pueblo Trolley Inc.

“”We are getting little help in the way of funding from businesses south of the Fourth Avenue Underpass,”” Guthrie said. “”It’s time they pony up for the historic trolley.””

Maintenance and operation costs have reached a new high while only one of the two cars at Old Pueblo Trolley’s car depot is equipped to service downtown. However, that car needs additional operators to maintain the original goal of providing regular transportation to the area.

Guthrie said these problems could be solved by more financial support from downtown businesses, much like the support his company receives from businesses in the university and Fourth Avenue areas.

“”Downtown businesses would profit by helping us because it makes the area more attractive to the university crowd.”” Guthrie said.

Don Martin, a Rialto Block partner, admitted he does not know enough about the downtown route to say it’s a viable opportunity.

“”I’m committed to understanding (the situation) better.”” Martin said. “”It’s a question of how many university students would frequent the area if the trolley ran to downtown more often.””

Richard Oseran, owner of The Historic Hotel Congress, is not so sure the trolley line will solve the transportation problems downtown faces.

“”It would be nice to see the historic trolley run to downtown more often, but it does not solve the transportation problem.”” Oseran said. “”We would like to see the modern trolley come into effect, which could really help the community.””

Old Pueblo Trolley is also in need of more volunteers to operate the trolleys. To date, five new volunteers are currently being trained and additional volunteers are always welcome.

“”We’ll take anybody who has an interest in the trolley system.”” Guthrie said.

Old Pueblo Trolley currently serves the University Boulevard to Eighth Street route and provides limited service into downtown on weekends.

“”We run as often to downtown as equipment and personnel can hold out.”” Guthrie said.

For information on how to donate or become a volunteer with Old Pueblo Trolley, check out their Web site at www.oldpueblotrolley.org.

 

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