EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — With big events around the corner including “Winterfest”, the City of El Paso is looking to lure more people onto the Streetcar.
City staff has been tracking the data and said more people are utilizing the Streetcar.
The City said ridership was hovering around 13,000 rides back in March. It peaked at 33,000 over the summer and was holding at 28,000 in October.
El Pasoan Sarah Salgado works in the Cincinnati Entertainment District, and told KTSM the Streetcar is her “go to” when heading into work, “I use it like, I would say three times a week.”
Salgado shared she also encourages others such as her customers to hop on, “A lot of them do live over here and they could take the trolley safely home instead of driving.”
Now a year old, city staff said there’s been an uptick in Streetcar ridership.
“We don’t have programming on the streetcar everyday but yet we’ve seen an increase in ridership in the past several months,” Tracey Jerome, Deputy City Manager, Quality of Life said, “That’s been quite consistent. It wouldn’t just be because of programming.”
Despite the cars often appearing to be empty, El Paso Mayor Dee Margo told KTSM last week that the City isn’t losing money, “We keep hearing from people who say ‘We shouldn’t of build the Streetcar etc. because of the ridership.’ Well that was a grant of 97 million from TxDOT. It had nothing to do with our city budget.”
City staff reminds the public one of the main purposes of the Streetcar is to spur economic development along the route.
“We’ve seen a number of residential developments happening, we’ve seen a number of mixed use development happening, we’ve seen businesses,” Jerome shared, “The school districts are coming into the Downtown. EPCC is coming in along the route. It is working, it just takes a period of time.”
You can ride the Streetcar for free during the holidays. City staff said they’ll start looking at fares again after the new year.