Wednesday, December 01, 2010

More Disappointment In Re the Goofy Godfrey Downtown Faux Trolley Route

Downtown Trolley Loop? Fail , says one WCF Reader

By: Livin' Downtown

I stood out in the snow at 160 25th Street, waiting with my toddler son for a much-anticipated trolley ride to the Tree House Museum;

And waited, and waited...

At 55 minutes, I prevailed on the crestfallen boy, and we arranged other transport to the Children's Museum.

We called the City, and were connected with a Mayoral Representative, who politely informed us that the Trolley DOES NOT ALWAYS run the copiously posted hours, nor does it always run every 15-20 minutes.

It seems, without updating the informational signage, the city has decided to only run one trolley, and if we plan on using it, sometimes it will come in a few minutes... sometimes it will come in a hour... maybe...

No way I am standing in the snow for 45 minutes again, not when we are waiting for a child-pleasing ride, one that we could walk in half the time.

And especially, no way we are going to use it in the snow.

I am sure there are great reasons, bus changeover, driver lunch, whatever...
Try telling that to a three year old who is shivering, and wondering what dad means when he says, "The trolley will be here any minute".

Downtown Trolley Loop? Fail.

30 comments:

got down sit on a bench said...

The city's motto is "we are working on it". Now I know where it is coming from. the mayor office.

Tired said...

There is absolutely no point in having a trolley if you can't rely on it. Ridership will be bad because no one will want to risk it. I was actually looking forward to the Trolley.

I have a sneaking suspicion the Godfrey administration will then shoot down future public transportation ideas for downtown by citing the non-existent ridership of the trolley.

Ogden Lover said...

So this will demonstrate unequivocally that there is no hope of ridership for a trolley passing through the downtown area. Hence, it should run down Wall to 36th.

If the Mayor hasn't done this deliberately, he's probably sorry he didn't think of it.

Curmudgeon said...

Livin Downtown's post should be a letter to the editor or a Guest Commentary and I urge him to send it in as one or the other exactly as he posted it here.

And as others have noted, if the trolley bus schedule is more or less random, and not as advertised, that pretty much eliminates whatever value the experiment had as a "study" to determine demand for a downtown loop. Unless the rider cohort they were hoping to measure were those people willing to stand curbside for an hour waiting for a ride. If that's the target group of the "study," I can tell the County the results right now and save the public a lot of money. So could any sane person.

PS: in re: the reply of the Mayor's representative about the trolley bus not always running when the Mayor said it would. The SE published the schedule the Mayor gave out --- days, hours and frequency. If in fact Hizzonah was dissembling yet again, seems to me the SE has an obligation to its readers to inform them that the schedule the paper reported to them was inaccurate. And why.

Curmudgeon said...

Livin Downtown:

This should be a letter to the editor or a Guest Commentary in the SE. I urge you to send it in, exactly as you've posted it here.

And, in light of this--- "We called the City, and were connected with a Mayoral Representative, who politely informed us that the Trolley does not ALWAYS run the copiously posted hours, nor does it always run every 15-20 minutes." --- I'd like to know what possible value could the Mayor's Toonerville Trolley Bus have as a "study" to determine the potential ridership for a trolley loop downtown. If the ridership they're hoping to measure is that cohort that is willing to wait an hour plus for a ride, I can tell them how the "study" will turn out right now, and save the County a lot of its money. So could any sane person.

Fireman Joe said...

"the Trolley DOES NOT ALWAYS run the copiously posted hours, nor does it always run every 15-20 minutes." Where O Where did the $175,000 dollars go?

WHEREDIDMONEYGO said...

Lets check with Blain "I don't believe I did anything wrong" Johnson. Misguided money seems to be his expertise.

wildcat said...

Livin Downtown-
You should also make sure that members of WACOG (who funded the stupid project at Godfrey's insistence) and the City Council are aware of the issues you bring up.

I am disgusted and offended that taxpayer funds (my dollars and your dollars) are being wasted like this.

Livin' Downtown said...

Post script:

After going home and watching Phineas and Ferb, we decided to have another go.

We watched from out of the lovely downtown window for the trolley to pass east on 25th street, and then timed 15 minutes to go down to street level, and this time we caught the bus fine.
And lets not split hairs: it is a bus, although the inside has been furburnished to resemble an old trolley car.

And here is my new gripe:

The driver allowed a man to stand with one foot on the front cowl almost touching the windshield, and engaged the man in a non-stop conversation, only watching the road about 60 percent of the time, the rest glancing and making eye contact with the only other passenger on the bus.
They did this the entire trip: I am surprised he was not drinking coffee and watching the news out of the corner of his eye, such was his inattentiveness.

Seriously, it was like in one of those movies where the driver spends more time looking at the pretty passenger than they do looking at the road.

Of course, I took the time to ask the driver about this, and he smirked, laughed, and said, "have a nice day", while he shut the door and pulled awaaaaay from the curb with us still exiting the snow filled gutter.
Basically, flipped us off and peeled out.

Very bad experience, and marginally unsafe as well.
Overall interaction with the trolley today: d-.

Dan S. said...

I saw the "trolley" this evening on 25th Street and noticed that it had no tail lights.

Marv said...

Dan, it was probably the same one I saw tonight with no tail lights and no passengers. It really isn't even that attractive, just a bus pimped out to try and look like a trolley.

Curmudgeon said...

Thoughts on the downtown loop trolley bus:

1. OK, OK, it's a bus, not a trolley. But this is hardly something worth piling on over. Lots of resort areas have similar trolley-buses plying their streets [e.g. Park City], and the decor [so to speak] is not inconsistent with the turn of the century look-and-feel Ogden tries to create on Historic 25th Street. Enough already about it's really a bus. Everybody knows.

2. The most serious complaint raised so far is Livin's report of the reply he got from the Mayor's office that the published schedules for the trolley buses are not accurate, that they do not run on every day when they're scheduled to run, nor do they always run at the once-every-15/20 minutes scheduled frequency. If that is true, and confirmed, it makes them virtually worthless as a test case for a downtown circular route of any kind [which is the stated reason the County Commission approved over six figures to run them for a while]. And it will cut potential ridership dramatically if people cannot rely on the trolley buses running when the Mayor said they would run with the frequency he said they would run.

3. Again, if Hizzonah's reps at City Hall are now saying the Mayor's announced schedule for the trolley bus is invalid, that creates a problem for the SE, since it informed it readers of the schedule the Mayor announced. If, again, that schedule is invalid, the SE needs to inform its readers of that. Quickly, I'd think. And it might even ponder, in an editorial perhaps, if the story is confirmed, why it [and so its readers] were given inaccurate information by the Mayor's office.

4. For the trolley-bus loop to be successful, it must be operated professionally --- that is with professional, uniformed drivers, who are competent, careful, polite and helpful, particularly since Hizzonah's administration was touting these trolley buses as a way to bring tourists from Frontrunner to Historic 25th Street [now that Hizzonah and his allies at the Historic 25th Street Merchants Association had UTA's buses banned from the street]. We've only heard one report of unprofessional conduct by drivers so far, but if that report is accurate and other riders have similar experiences, that is a serious matter.

5. As are the reports of safety equipment on the trolley buses not operating properly or at all [e.g. the multiple reports now of at least one trolley bus running without tail-lights.]

In short, if Ogden is going to do this, it needs to do it right. Sinking six figures of public money into a slipshod operation makes no sense at all. The trolley buses have to run dependably on a posted schedule with the advertised frequency, and they have to operated professionally, courteously and safely. Anything less will redound to the city's detriment, not its benefit.

Dan S. said...

To put the cost of this service in perspective, a single full-size UTA bus costs somewhat over $200,000, if I recall correctly. Ogden obtained these two trolley-like buses at fire-sale prices. I wouldn't be surprised if the drivers are also being paid less than the professionals who work for UTA. It's starting to sound like we got what we paid for.

Jennifer said...

Dan S.

In Ogden ... "we got what we pay for?" ... it's usually "we rarely get what we're still paying for."

TLJ

Tired said...

Jennifer: You hit the nail on the head.

ozboy said...

Mr. Curmudgeon

With apologies to Mr. Goodwin, but didn't Hitler and Mussolini at least make the trains and buses run on time? If so, why can't our own version of those two do the same?

Marion said...

Good question Oz. There are apparently only two buses that are under the direct control of the mayor, yet he can't seem to make them run on time. Sure do hope that he doesn't go to work for the UTA when the citizens of Ogden finally get tired of his incompetence.

Curmudgeon said...

The trolley buses were running this afternoon, on what seemed to be the announced frequency. The two I saw pass had no passengers, but it's early days yet.

Livin' Downtowne said...

I used the downtown shuttle bus this morning at about 1:45 pm, to go over to the Flowrider facility and carve some desert surf.

Wait: 10 minutes out, 8 minutes in.
Driver: courteous and attentive.
Perhaps the call to the Mayors Office yesterday helped to raise the standard, perhaps the Mayor reads this blog and hopped on the problem pronto, perhaps it was just the luck ov the draw. Regardless, I used the desired amenities available downtown, and did not get sucker punched in the snow by an idiot driver and a lax schedule.

Was my playtime subsidized by Ogden Taxpayers? Probably. Would I vote to have you all pay to cart me around town and issue me free passes to the flowrider?

No way.

Funny, I did not have my child with me this afternoon. Tomorrow is Treehouse Friday, and I am going to give it another try. We will see.

Curmudgeon said...

Livin;

Good to know. It really is in Ogden's interest to have the service run well for as long as it runs.

blackrulon said...

Curm=It is a trollry not a bus. Matthew Godfre and Steve Conlin were both aamant that they would remove buses from 25th street. See, calling the identical thing a different name is all that is required. It is a high adventure outdoor ground hugging gondola recreation transportation vehicle(soon to be equipped with nighttime searchlights).

Curmudgeon said...

BR:

Yes, I wondered too about how all the presumed advantages of banning buses from Historic 25th Street that were loudly touted by Hizzonah's cronies in the Historic 25th Street Merchants Association [less traffic, less noise, etc.] suddenly disappeared when Hizzonah began championing his Toonerville Trolley buses, with nary a peep of complaint from the Association. Imagine that.

But you miss the main point. Hizzonah's business cronies were convinced that the UTA buses were bringing The Wrong Sort Of People downtown --- you know, Bolsheviks who were not likely to buy furniture and accessory pieces from Indigo Sage --- while the Toonerville Trolley buses will bring no one downtown [except out of towners riding in on Frontrunner], but merely move people already there around. That's the real difference.

Maybe Hizzonah's cronies were right about UTA bringing undesirables downtown. The UTA buses used to bring me there with some frequency. But no more. I visit downtown since they took the buses off 25th Street only about 1/3 as often as I used to, particularly for breakfast or lunch. I can take a hint.

ozboy said...

Mr. Curmudgeon

Easy on Indigo Sage now, I think they are a pretty cool store. Their buyer and display designer definitely have great taste. Don't know how one would ever get one of their killer couches home on the bus even if it still did stop in front of the place.

Curmudgeon said...

Oz:

Wasn't questioning their design sense, or the quality of the goods they stock. Chose them for an example because one of the bus stops removed in the Great Historic 25th Street Midnight Bus Removal Coup was right outside their doors. I used to catch the 603 there coming back from a breakfast at Karen's or coffee at the downtown GFC. No more.

Buckley said...

Curm, it would be interesting to know if Karens, or any of the other merchants on 25th, have seen a decline in their bottom line since the bus no longer runs on the street. If they haven't then perhaps they were right that from an economic point of view the buses were a bigger nuisance than they were a benefit.

Bus boy said...

Buckley,
Right when the UTA bus was replaced with a city bus that can't keep a schedule.

Curmudgeon said...

Buckley:

Say it's had no appreciable effect on business. Nevertheless, the bus service to Historic 25th Street was used by a lot of people, daily. Why they should have their service moved away because some [not all] merchants on the street wanted it done for their convenience escapes me. People accessing services at the IRS building for example, have now had the closest stop moved considerably further away from that building. UTA is public transit after all. Or it's supposed to be.

The downtown loop route, if it proves to be attractive [which on its current running one way only configuration I doubt, but we'll have to see], might be useful for moving people around downtown, but again will do exactly nothing to bring people [sans cars] downtown from other parts of the city, or to get them home again.

I suspect the downtown circle route experiment is premature. If [heavy emphasis on the if] all the plans for the River Project etc. eventually come to fruition, and there are many more people living downtown, and more businesses, restaurants, shoppes downtown spread out from the Ogden River to 25th Street and from Wall to Washington, the circle route might go. But at this point, with the River Project still moribund, and lots of storefronts still empty, I tend to doubt it. But I could be wrong. Again, we'll have to see.

blackrulon said...

Comment bumped to Fromt Page

Livin' Downtown said...

I see a bus come from Wall and turn east on 25th street every day; I do not know where it goes after it goes by Sadie's GFC.

Also tonight, there were more riders on the downtown bus loop, including a cute elderly couple from out of town sporting grandkids.

Also on the bus were locals using it to get from Larry Millers over to Christmas Village, and someone who looked hungry and tired using to go to an odd stop over by The Mighty Raptors Stadium of Woe.

Seems ridership has risen this week.

Curmudgeon said...

Livin:

Good. Hope they're keeping good stats on not only how many people ride it, but when. Would be useful to devise more efficient scheduling. But it's early days.

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