Check out the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE article of 27 September, 2009 on commuting in San Diego County. The story got little consideration, but is a blockbuster when it comes to justifying our massive trolley expenditures. The madness of this wasteful spending becomes readily apparent.
The article reveals that 90.9% drive to work. Only 3.5% use public transportation.
Of that 3.5%, only 9% of these public transit users ride the trolleys. That comes to 0.315% of all county commuters ride our multi-billion dollar trolley boondoggle. Almost 9 times as many commuters ride the buses as ride the trolleys.
It gets worse. SANDAG admits that about ¾ of the trolley riders used to take the bus. Hence only about 0.07875% of the trolley commuters are former car commuters. For you numerically impaired, that’s less than EIGHT ONE-HUNDREDTHS OF ONE PERCENT of former car commuters now do part or all of their work commute on a trolley.
For this minuscule usage, we have spent (as Carl Sagan used to so elegantly intone) “billions and billions” of dollars on trolley construction – plus tens of millions more annually in subsidies.
If we REALLY care about public transit, we should be pushing for shifting SANDAG policy (and funding) emphasis to lower cost, more efficient, far more flexible buses. Let’s end our trolley "edifice complex."