To the editor:
The King Street trolley has carried 1.2 million passengers between the river and the rails since the service began in April 2009. The trolley has attracted visitors to the city, reduced traffic and its environmental impact and increased the number of businesses used by its passengers.
Visitors pay for the trolley when they check out of their hotels whether or not they use it. A 1-percent increase in the hotel tax was implemented to pay for the trolley. This tax on the citys visitors generates more than $1.5 million annually more than twice the cost to operate the trolley.
The trolley has attracted more people to King Street. A survey of riders found that 24 percent said they would not have made the trip if the trolley was not available. Roughly calculated, thats almost 300,000 people visiting King Street who would not have come without the trolley.
The trolley has reduced traffic and its environmental impact. Among the 76 percent who would have come anyway, 33 percent would have used a personal car or taxi without the trolley; more than 396,000 people would have added to the congestion of Old Town.
The trolley has increased the number of businesses used by its passengers. Fifty-seven percent of riders said that the trolley increased the number of businesses they used on that particular day. Only six percent said it decreased the number.
The trolley has clearly been a success story for the City of Alexandria. Keeping the trolley free-of-charge is critical to its ongoing success. Extending its hours of operation and increasing its frequency, whenever the resources can be found, will only add to its success.