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Only Change To Downtown Trolley Route Addition Of One Stop, Online Marketing Materials Inaccurate

July 7, 2014 Downtown, Featured, Public Transit 2 Comments

The brightly colored Downtown Trolley MetroBus debuted four years ago. In the last four years service was expanded to seven days a week, it originally didn’t include Sunday. More recently the original buses used were replaced with new low-floor buses.

The original Downtown Trolley used a short bus with steps & wheelchair lift.  Photo by Jim Merkel, Suburban Journals
I’m exiting the original Downtown Trolley after the initial ride on July 1, 2010. Photo by Jim Merkel, Suburban Journals.

Last September I complained the new pedestrian wayfinding downtown lacked any reference to the Downtown Trolley (See: Downtown Trolley Ignored By Metro, CVC, & Downtown Community Improvement District). I expected the official response to be something like ‘Oh you’re right, we totally overlooked the Trolley.’

The CVC's downtown pedestrian directories don't show the trolley route or stops.
The CVC’s downtown pedestrian directories don’t show the trolley route or stops.

Instead the official responses were “it’s a moving target”, meaning they don’t want to print the route & stops on directories because that would require reprinting all as changes are made. I fully agree that we don’t want to present obsolete information to downtown visitors. While most MetroBus routes change often, the Downtown Trolley route hasn’t changed at all in the last four years.

For 3+ years the route & stops haven't changed. Well, except the stop shown at 15th & Washington is actually 14th & Washington
The route used is exactly the same as it was on July 1, 2010. One stop moved a block in the first week, another was added later.

In fact, in the last four years, only one stop moved and one was added. The one stop that moved from one block to the next likely just had the sign installed at the wrong spot.

Worker installing the special trolley stop sign on Washington Ave, just west of 15th, on June 30, 2010 @ 6:30pm.
Worker installing the special trolley stop sign on Washington Ave, just west of 15th, on June 30, 2010 @ 6:30pm.
The next day I took this pic of the signs.
The next day I took this pic of the signs.

Within a week after the Downtown Trolley began service these signs were moved to the next block east. As the colorful map shows, the stop was intended to be between 14th & 15th, not 15th & 16th. So not really a moved stop, more a correction on the placement of the sign. In the last four years other stops may have been moved to another post within the same block, but no other has moved to a completely different block. The only route change I’ve found is the addition of a stop on eastbound Clark just east of 14th.

Added trolley stop on Clark
Added trolley stop on Clark
Ironically the route map on the sign at this stop doesn't even show the stop! Really?
Ironically the route map on the sign at this stop doesn’t even show the stop! Really?

I expect the pedestrian wayfinding throughout downtown to show the trolley but the three partners can’t even get the signs at the stops correct. It gets worse, the trolley page at the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis still lists the original press release from four years ago, including:

The new downtown trolley service will operate from 5:30 a.m. to midnight Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to midnight on Saturday. Service will reach each stop every 10 minutes from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, and every 20 minutes the rest of the time.

So? Remember, the service was expanded to include Sunday service. You’d never know it from their website! In fact, the colorful graphic with the route map also shows the days and hours without Sunday — not updated since July 2010. Because they’ll very likely finally update the page after this post, you can read a PDF version from last night to show how out of date it is. The graphic is here.

The “moving target” line was complete and total BS, the CVC & Partnership seem to be deliberately sabotaging the Downtown Trolley.  As a taxpayer into the special downtown community improvement district I’m highly displeased. I’m going do a new round of emails hoping to get action on adding the downtown trolley to the next printing of the pedestrian wayfinding as well as current and consistent marketing materials.

— Steve Patterson

  • JZ71

    It’ll be interesting to see how you think Denver’s downtown shuttles compare, when you’re out there – they’re an integral (and free) part of downtown life, there, and included, along with the rest of the public transportation options (including bikes), in their marketing efforts: http://www.denver.org/about-denver/transportation/ . . and http://www.denver.org/about-denver/transportation/public-transportation/ . . But one thing they do (and should) do is link to their transit district’s website for any specific, current information – they don’t pretend that they can stay current on every schedule and fare change. I don’t think that the CVC, here, should be expected to stay current on every detail, either, but I don’t know if putting out bad information is better or worse than putting out no information? (In other words, be careful about what you ask for – the Law of Unintended Consequences may come back and bite ya!)

    • http://urbanreviewstl.com/ Steve Patterson

      Tourists use the wayfinding throughout downtown, it’s a very positive addition. But not including the trolley at all is a huge mistake.

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