Joel Peshkin, San Juan Capistrano
The city has allocated almost $70,000 in public funds (mostly from the Air Quality Management District, with $3,680 from San Juan’s general fund) to fund a trolley service for the summer. As it currently stands, this would be wasted money.
Assuming that a visitor would like to go between points served by the trolley, they would immediately be confronted with the reality that the trolley runs only once every 45 minutes. Depending on the stop, a passenger would have to wait for an average of 22 minutes before the trolley comes by, possibly 44 minutes. Even near the Mission, where the trolley makes several passes, getting on the trolley during the “wrong” pass means the passenger is forced to ride around a few unwanted loops before heading toward the desired destination.
There are two ways that this can be fixed, and one or both can and should be implemented in a matter of days.
One way is to make the schedule more predictable. If the trolley runs once an hour, always leaving the Residence Inn on the hour, and there are posted scheduled times at each stop thereafter, then a passenger can know within a few minutes when the trolley will arrive at a desired stop and not have to stand there for a half hour or more. Why have it wait at the Residence Inn? It is out of traffic and few riders are likely to board heading towards the Residence Inn if that isn’t their destination.
The second way is to make the exact location of the trolley available. There are many easy ways to have a smartphone on the trolley keep a live map up to date with its current position. By putting a link to the map on the trolley’s website/Facebook page, any passenger with a phone can determine the location of the trolley and estimate when to head to a stop. (If the city can’t locate a teenager to help set this up, I am willing to explain further).
Even with these steps, it remains to be seen if there are enough potential riders moving between stops on its route to make the trolley worthwhile. Without these steps, it is just another waste of taxpayer money.