But now, living in Kansas City, MO, and once, even trying to walk to Affare via Main (great restaurant, btw, which I plan to write about soon), I'm wondering something.
Although I cannot find the article on-line now, I'm sure it said the ride from Union Station to the City Market would be free. (Again, I never paid that much attention.) I'm thinking, whhaaaat?
So I went to the website, http://www.kcstreetcar.org/, and sure enough, that's right. The purpose is "minimizing dwell times and maximizing economic benefits to riders," laudable goals to be sure (if a "dwell time" means the amount of time the trolley/streetcar delays traffic on Main). And a voter-approved sales tax increase, parking assessments and federal funding are paying for it.
But I do have two questions and a thought about all of this:
1. Who is the target market for the trolley/streetcar? Since we want to "maximize economic benefit to riders," one might suppose it might be for residents to get to jobs or maybe for city workers to get to the market or downtown residents to move about more readily. Because why would we care about making Kansas City even cheaper for tourists?
2. And our busses aren't free, right? Not expensive, but not free. Not self supporting, but not free. While I can make a case for the buses not costing much, "providing maximum economic benefits to riders," how many working people are going to taking the trolley/streetcar down Main from 24th to 3rd?
So here's my comment, phrased as a rhetorical question. Why don't we (partially) maximize economic benefit and let KC MO residents show a license and everyone else give a buck? Then we can spend more of the sales tax on KC's crumbling infrastructure.