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Cincinnati Streetcar / Cincinnati Bell Connector News

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It's no secret that Cincinnati Bell isn't happy with the streetcar's performance. Remember when Cincinnati Bell came to a City Council meeting about 6 month or a year after it opened, with a list of suggestions of how the system could be improved? And then the city did ... absolutely nothing ... in response?

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Unfortunately, Cranley has been able to make the streetcar turn out to be as crappy as he originally said it would be. He's done this by hamstringing operations at every turn. It started by eliminating technology funding that would have supported accurate real-time displays from day 1, then went to firing your project manager (Deatrick) before he could use his unique system knowledge to ramp up operations and solve problems, and continues to this day with dragging heels on the traffic study and not ticketing for blocking the tracks.

 

This is incredibly petty of Cranley, but that's his M.O. He's motivated more by being right and having the last say, than being an effective public servant. Very Trumpian.

 

At this point, with pretty much everyone except tourists feeling sad about taking the streetcar, and with electric scooters and bikes stealing market share for short and convenient trips by people 30 and under, it'll probably take a hard reset of some kind - like a "Smale commission" for the streetcar - to jump start this thing after Cranley's gone.

 

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Cincinnati Bell should sue the city for purposely devaluing the streetcar, therefore devaluing the advertising and branding associated with it instead of pulling out. At this point I think that kind of thing will be the only kick in the ass that will fix things.

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Cincinnati Bell should sue the city for purposely devaluing the streetcar, therefore devaluing the advertising and branding associated with it instead of pulling out. At this point I think that kind of thing will be the only kick in the ass that will fix things.

 

That's a good idea. 

 

The streetcar would be flourishing if Qualls had been elected.  Many other things would be happening as well. 

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Cincinnati Bell displeased with streetcar performance

 

Cincinnati Bell, the company that holds the naming rights to the streetcar, is not happy with how the project has performed and has told the city so, it said Friday afternoon.

 

The statement followed a day in which multiple sources told the Business Courier that the company planned to cancel the 10-year, $3.4 million naming rights deal, but both Bell and Advertising Vehicles, the company that sold the naming rights on behalf of the city of Cincinnati and the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, denied it.

 

“Cincinnati Bell has concerns about the streetcar’s performance, which we have shared with the city,” the company said in a statement. “At this time, however, no decision has been made regarding our sponsorship.”

 

More below:

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2018/08/31/cincinnati-bell-displeased-with-streetcar.html


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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jasonwilliams_zpspvyeolu9.jpg

 

Does this idiot actually think there's a chance in hell that the city just "decides" to permanently shut down the streetcar? Does he have the slightest clue how that series of decisions would go? Was he around in 2009, 2011, or 2013?

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Rode the streetcar from OTR down to Fountain Square last night. It was packed, only reason we did not get off at the Banks was due to traffic but that was to be expected. Rode it from the Banks back to OTR. Was a smooth ride with no delays and was packed. Felt like I was back in New York. I think the streetcar is essential to this city and needs to be expanded to be 100% effective.

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jasonwilliams_zpspvyeolu9.jpg

 

Does this idiot actually think there's a chance in hell that the city just "decides" to permanently shut down the streetcar? Does he have the slightest clue how that series of decisions would go? Was he around in 2009, 2011, or 2013?

 

Opponents of the project are literally salivating at the mouth that the whole thing gets shut down and the Trump administration forgives the millions of dollars the Feds put into the project. My take is that if this comes to pass, the Feds will definitely want their money back so the Trump DOT can reward an extra BUILD grant to a rural highway bypass project.


“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

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jasonwilliams_zpspvyeolu9.jpg

 

Does this idiot actually think there's a chance in hell that the city just "decides" to permanently shut down the streetcar? Does he have the slightest clue how that series of decisions would go? Was he around in 2009, 2011, or 2013?

I sent an email to the Enquirer editor in chief asking if this was really the best they could do.

 

Every time we lose a Peter Bronson, another one takes its place. Must be in the water.

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As far as the notion of shutting down a federal project and “forgiving” the monetary buyback, there is a local precedent very similar suggesting this is a non-starter. In the late 1980’s the CEO of Greater Dayton RTA tried to shut down the newly-modernized electric trolleybus system in the city and arranged a meeting in DC to discuss a waiver of the multi million dollar payback for the substations and new power distribution system downtown. What I heard from a reliable source is that pretty much the whole SW Ohio Congressional delegation was thumbs down on any kind of waiver of repayment to the feds.

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Plus, somebody is obviously feeding him negative transit stories to retweet.  It's not as if he's on the various urbanist forums that discuss these issues, at length, every day, year after year. 

 

Screen%20Shot%202018-09-03%20at%209.11.59%20PM_zpsdnnbfcxt.jpg

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Plus, somebody is obviously feeding him negative transit stories to retweet.  It's not as if he's on the various urbanist forums that discuss these issues, at length, every day, year after year. 

 

Screen%20Shot%202018-09-03%20at%209.11.59%20PM_zpsdnnbfcxt.jpg

 

I stay off twitter but someone should tell him to Google the avg Seattle gas price at the moment and explain why things in different places cost different amounts.

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@jmeck. Thanks for posting the pic of Brinks truck on the tracks. Ways to “do something” about the streetcar with pros and cons listed: 1) Cancel project, stop operating. (Very Expensive) 2) Void Bell add contract (expensive as would likely involve litigation) 3) Increase ridership by extending to Uptown and/or south across river (long term investment, little short term gain) 4) Make fare free (minimally expensive see Kansas City.)  5) Enforce parking/ stopping restrictions and increase the fines.  (A generator of additional revenues that could be used for future transportation projects maybe and/ or more likely could be used to put more cops and first responders on the street!)  Who doesn’t get it and what doesn’t the City understand about this!  The streetcar is a potential cash cow for the city if they just start enforcing laws already on the books and make the penalty match the magnitude of the infraction!

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Behind the attempt to divorce SORTA from the Cincinnati streetcar

 

allison2br2bath9*750xx1800-1014-0-185.jpg

 

Officials with both the city of Cincinnati and the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority are looking to jettison SORTA’s management of the Cincinnati Bell Connector streetcar with both political concerns and intergovernmental squabbling driving the decision, according to sources with direct knowledge of the situation.

 

More below:

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2018/09/04/heres-whats-behind-the-attempt-to-divorce-sorta.html


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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Cincinnati Bell needs to call Cranley out specifically. Cranley hasn't done his job, which is serving the people of Cincinnati. Instead he has used the mayorship to campaign within the fire-breathing Cincinnati suburbs and semi-rural SW Ohio for statewide office.

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August Streetcar Ridership for Cincinnati-  47,358  (down 14% from previous year)

August Streetcar Ridership for Kansas City- 221,898 (up 11% from previous year)

 

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I'd pay to see the DOUGSCORE review the new streetcar systems:

http://dougscore.net/scoreboard

 

I think we'd see KC at #1 and Cincinnati around #5 or lower.  Then have Cranley/Williams answer as to why clearly fixable problems aren't being fixed. 

 

 

 

 

"Here's Why..." followed by him flipping something opened and closed over and over

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August Streetcar Ridership for Cincinnati-  47,358  (down 14% from previous year)

August Streetcar Ridership for Kansas City- 221,898 (up 11% from previous year)

 

Absolutely crazy. We need to bring a delegation from Kansas City to town to observe our system and make recommendations for improvement. I have a hard time believing that our poor ridership (and their incredible ridership) is all due to track blockages and lights that aren't timed correctly. I know their system is free, so that also must make a difference. But with such a vast chasm between the performance of the two systems, I think there must be something more to the story.

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"Here's Why..." followed by him flipping something opened and closed over and over

 

One of those other exotic car youtubers just had his 1995 Ferrari spontaneously combust:

 

 

 

Now imagine if this was the streetcar.  It illustrates how everyone is conditioned to get screwed over by their personal automobiles, even preposterously expensive ones.  In fact, everyone is amused by wrecked cars, even publicly financed cars like police chases.  The Blues Brothers shopping mall scene, etc. 

 

People are just standing around looking at this Ferrari on fire and chuckling about it even though OUR TAX MONEY is being spent to put out the fire.  But we just had The Enquirer calling for the permanent shut-down of the streetcar because of...mold. 

 

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Of course the Enquirer's headline:  "Cincinnati weather: Around 15K without power, streetcar suspended".  No mention of all the traffic signals that were out, flooded streets, closed intersections in the article (though somewhat showed in their lazy video clearly shot just from their office window). Just had to get in a jab at the streetcar. 

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Streetcar divorce could take up to a year

 

raw

 

“Like it or not, perception in the region is that ... money that should go to the bus is going to the streetcar.”

 

More below:

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2018/09/11/streetcar-divorce-could-take-up-to-a-year.html


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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Maybe it would be easier for SORTA to simply educate the public that 100% of the streetcar's costs are paid by the City and not by SORTA, and not a single penny from any SORTA tax could be used for anything streetcar related.

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Maybe it would be easier for SORTA to simply educate the public that 100% of the streetcar's costs are paid by the City and not by SORTA, and not a single penny from any SORTA tax could be used for anything streetcar related.

 

It's my understanding that monthly passholders (probably day-passholders, also) pay into a pool, from which an amount proportionate to the usage of the pass goes to either the bus system or the streetcar. Now, that's the "fairest" way to do this, but it's slightly nuanced and requires more words to get across than saying "money from monthly pass bus users goes to the streetcar" or "only streetcar riders pay for the streetcar."

 

Strictly speaking, neither passholders using the streetcar nor passholders not using the streetcar pay for bus operations or streetcar operations. (They pay into this pool, which then is distributed.) Thus the room for COAST-types to play semantic games.

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What you just mentioned is the grey area that COAST and Friends use as "proof" that "bus money is going to the streetcar!"

 

My understanding is that it works like this: When police officers are on the streetcar checking people's fares, they are supposed to mark down what type of fare people are using. A vast majority of streetcar riders are likely paying using 2-hour or all-day streetcar passes, but some small percentage of riders are using Metro day or monthly passes. (I have done this in the past — purchased a monthly Metro pass and used it to ride the streetcar since there is no streetcar monthly pass.) From those numbers, Metro calculates how much money is owed to the streetcar from Metro's day/monthly pass revenue. I don't know the numbers, but I've gotta suspect that it's a very, very, very small percentage of the monthly pass revenue that goes towards the streetcar.

 

This illustrates one of the big problems with the "streetcar divorce". Will people with a Metro day/monthly pass still be able to ride the streetcar for free, even if Metro doesn't run the streetcar? If so, surely the city wouldn't just let them ride for free. They would expect Metro to pay them for those rides, in which case Metro would be writing a check to the city for those riders. So the whole premise behind the divorce is flawed.

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Metro and TANK also revenue share on stored value cards but I am not seeing anyone cry foul that metro $$ is going to NKY.


“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

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There are dozens of examples across America of transit card systems that work across multiple transit agencies. Greater Seattle's ORCA Card currently can be used on 9 different transit and ferry systems. You can buy a one-day ORCA pass for $8 that works on Community Transit, Everett Transit, King County Metro Transit, King County Water Taxi, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit, Seattle Streetcar, and Sound Transit (which runs light rail, commuter rail, and buses), and I assume the revenue is distributed to all of those agencies based on some agreed-upon method.

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Metro and TANK also revenue share on stored value cards but I am not seeing anyone cry foul that metro $$ is going to NKY.

 

Exactly. Same exact concept. If you transfer from Metro to Tank or vice versa, wherever you pay the transfer gets the funds.

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What you just mentioned is the grey area that COAST and Friends use as "proof" that "bus money is going to the streetcar!"

 

Metro and TANK also revenue share on stored value cards but I am not seeing anyone cry foul that metro $$ is going to NKY.

 

The question is, how can this rhetoric, thoroughly dishonest as it is, be combated when the explanation requires so many words but the factual distortion requires so few?

 

This illustrates one of the big problems with the "streetcar divorce". Will people with a Metro day/monthly pass still be able to ride the streetcar for free, even if Metro doesn't run the streetcar? If so, surely the city wouldn't just let them ride for free. They would expect Metro to pay them for those rides, in which case Metro would be writing a check to the city for those riders. So the whole premise behind the divorce is flawed.

 

I guess if it's a really small amount of farebox recovery, monthly passholders could just be given free rides and it wouldn't make a big difference, and the issue could be revisited at a later date. At which point the rhetorical upper-hand would be on the side of those complaining about passholders riding for free.

 

There are dozens of examples across America of transit card systems that work across multiple transit agencies. Greater Seattle's ORCA Card currently can be used on 9 different transit and ferry systems. You can buy a one-day ORCA pass for $8 that works on Community Transit, Everett Transit, King County Metro Transit, King County Water Taxi, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit, Seattle Streetcar, and Sound Transit (which runs light rail, commuter rail, and buses), and I assume the revenue is distributed to all of those agencies based on some agreed-upon method.

 

I was just in Seattle last week, and I could not for the life of me figure out how to get a day pass for anything but the streetcars. Their transit system is the most difficult to figure out that I've ever experienced, in terms of both fares and navigation (so hard to find useful maps). Vancouver's was a breeze, by comparison.

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The question is, how can this rhetoric, thoroughly dishonest as it is, be combated when the explanation requires so many words but the factual distortion requires so few?

 

This illustrates one of the big problems with the "streetcar divorce". Will people with a Metro day/monthly pass still be able to ride the streetcar for free, even if Metro doesn't run the streetcar? If so, surely the city wouldn't just let them ride for free. They would expect Metro to pay them for those rides, in which case Metro would be writing a check to the city for those riders. So the whole premise behind the divorce is flawed.

 

I mean, that's the key question of the time period we're living in. Every 10 word lie that is spread takes 10,000 words of truth to debunk it. So how do you get people to listen to the truth when it's easier to just believe the lie?

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The Cincinnati Streetcar had 3,124 riders on Sunday September 2nd, the night of the fireworks over Labor Day weekend where we extended the hours until 1 am.

 

The last time the Kansas City streetcar had a single day where they had fewer than 3,124 riders was April 3rd.

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Cincinnati and KC have the exact same model streetcar, and so presumably, the exact same automated passenger counters in the doorways. 

 

A piece of data we don't have for KC is how many people are riding 3-4-5 times per day.  It must be a pretty significant percentage because it's hard to believe that they're getting 10,000 unique riders on days when their ridership pushes or tops 15,000. 

 

Also, it should be noted that KC is getting many times our ridership despite having a smaller fleet of streetcars (4 instead of 5) and a far inferior streetcar barn situation which makes it much more complicated to introduce an extra streetcar or take one out of service. 

 

KC is regularly running all 4 of their streetcars but Cincinnati has not run all 5 of ours since opening weekend, and has only run 4 on 1-2 occasions since. 

 

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Cincinnati and KC have the exact same model streetcar, and so presumably, the exact same automated passenger counters in the doorways. 

 

A piece of data we don't have for KC is how many people are riding 3-4-5 times per day.  It must be a pretty significant percentage because it's hard to believe that they're getting 10,000 unique riders on days when their ridership pushes or tops 15,000. 

 

Also, it should be noted that KC is getting many times our ridership despite having a smaller fleet of streetcars (4 instead of 5) and a far inferior streetcar barn situation which makes it much more complicated to introduce an extra streetcar or take one out of service. 

 

KC is regularly running all 4 of their streetcars but Cincinnati has not run all 5 of ours since opening weekend, and has only run 4 on 1-2 occasions since. 

 

 

That piece of information would be un-knowable if someone buys a day pass for Cincinnati as well or for the Portland MAX/Streetcar system. You'd basically need a MARTA or DC Metro  style scan in, scan out system to know how many times unique individuals are riding.

 

Semi-related, I wonder how many times individual cars are counted in a "vehicles per day" count. If you commute from Loveland to the Airport, your car is being counted as a vehicle on 275, 71, FWW, BSB, 71/75, 275 (again).

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Can Cincinnati fix the streetcar?

 

The streetcar was built for two reasons: To spur economic development and repopulation in downtown and Over-the-Rhine and to move people around Cincinnati’s basin neighborhoods. Since opening Sept. 9, 2016, it’s delivered on only one of those promises.

 

More below:

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2018/09/14/can-cincinnati-fix-the-streetcar.html


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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There was recently an article in the Enquirer that said streetcar ridership continues to fall. This time, some of the blame was placed on.....bird scooters.

 

The streetcar feels like it's sinking fast. As more development comes online around it, ridership surely should not be decreasing. What the hell is going on here? Has the mythical traffic study been completed yet? Are supporters (hello, John Schneider, where are you?) still fighting for improvements, or have people kind of given up? It's depressing to think that something so many of us fought so hard for is proving to be quite a letdown.

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39 minutes ago, edale said:

There was recently an article in the Enquirer that said streetcar ridership continues to fall. This time, some of the blame was placed on.....bird scooters.

 

The streetcar feels like it's sinking fast. As more development comes online around it, ridership surely should not be decreasing. What the hell is going on here? Has the mythical traffic study been completed yet? Are supporters (hello, John Schneider, where are you?) still fighting for improvements, or have people kind of given up? It's depressing to think that something so many of us fought so hard for is proving to be quite a letdown.

 

Ridership has been trending downward, but if you look at the numbers, there's a massive drop in line with when the scooters entered the market.

 

June 2018 Streetcar Down -6.0%

 

July 2018 Streetcar Down -6.3%

 

July 26th, Bird Launches

 

August 2018 Streetcar Down  -15.7%

 

August 29th Bird Expands

 

September 2018 Streetcar Down -24.1%

 

September 11 Lime Launches

 

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We've gone over it before, but the political situation has been the driving factor in the streetcar's performance.  It's easy to put in place a bad policy and just let the system flounder.  It takes no additional work, whereas any fixes require at least some token level of effort.   

 

On the other hand, while streetcar ridership tends to drop some in cold weather, scooter ridership will likely crash once the weather really turns.  Cold isn't going to help the batteries, and sloppy weather is pretty much untenable. 

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I am skeptical as to how many riders the scooters are taking away from the streetcar.  Rarely do you see more than two people riding scooters together, so it isn't stealing groups.  The scooters are also ridden overwhelmingly by males, so they aren't stealing many female riders.  And I don't think I've seen many people over age 40 on a scooter, so they aren't getting those people either. 

 

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I see quite a few groups of people on scooters and have seen quite a few women riding them.  That being said, my feeling is that there is some  impact, but not that great of one.   The morning commute which had been for the longest time just me and sometimes another person has jumped up to a half dozen or so.


"Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." - Warren Buffett 

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Just now, jmecklenborg said:

I am skeptical as to how many riders the scooters are taking away from the streetcar.  Rarely do you see more than two people riding scooters together, so it isn't stealing groups.  The scooters are also ridden overwhelmingly by males, so they aren't stealing many female riders.  And I don't think I've seen many people over age 40 on a scooter, so they aren't getting those people either. 

 

 

I generally agree that the scooters aren't much of a factor, but I've seen plenty of older men in suits riding them in the morning on my way to work and I've seen larger groups riding them on the weekend. But I think your point stands. 

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To me reliability and on time performance is the key to everything.  There’s a lot to do to repair a soiled reputation in this regard.

 

I’d be interested to see the number of streetcar-hours of service per month  between this year and last to see if we ran more streetcars more often a year ago. I know they have been in the shop a lot this year and we have even dropped below our minimum service targets for streetcars in service a few times. 

 

Anecdotal and no doubt a bureaucratic impossibility, but I probably would have ridden the streetcar x10 times more when I lived downtown if they allowed dogs. I was up on the fourth floor so any chance to combine another errand with dog walking was great for me and I ended up patronizing dog friendly businesses. 


www.cincinnatiideas.com

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23 hours ago, jmecklenborg said:

^Right on cue:

https://www.wcpo.com/news/insider/city-council-text-messages-ousted-city-manager-promised-streetcar-fixes-to-avoid-firing

 

 

 It's a sad day when we have to depend on TV channels to do basic investigative work.  The Enquirer is a menace. 

 

Wow, that seems to be clear evidence of intentional sabotage, confirming what most of us suspected.

 

I, too, worry about the reputational damage that has already been done to the streetcar. Even if the city can implement signal prioritization and better handle the issue of track blockages, will people be willing to give it another chance? I think supporters need to start thinking of some more drastic measures to immediately improve performance. In addition to the signal prioritization, I think it makes sense to remove or decommission some of the most lightly used stops. If it can be made free, that would also have a big impact, I think. 

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Still not a peep from The Enquirer.  They were too busy worshiping Cranely's state of the city speech, where he apparently took credit for Kroger promising to eliminate plastic bags by 2030. 

 

Many of the people in downtown and OTR are visitors or recent transplants.  The turnover is very high.  Look at the auditor's website and you will see that many 10 year-old condos have already been sold three times.  Implementation of common-sense improvements to streetcar operations would motivate an instant improvement in ridership. 

 

Also, the Bird scooters turn off at night, around 9pm.  As I speculated earlier, the scooters aren't stealing many riders, and they certainly aren't stealing any when they are turned off. 

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