Tucson's streetcar system requires subsidies
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Tucson's new streetcar system is expected to generate more than $300,000 in fares and require nearly $4 million in government subsidies in its first full year of operation.
The Arizona Daily Star reported that the city's draft five-year transit plan said fares from the Sun Link Streetcar system will cover 6 to 7 percent of the system's annual operating cost. By comparison, fares pay for 24 percent of Sun Tran bus system operations.
The Regional Transportation Authority and the University of Arizona will pay a portion of the annual streetcar operating subsidy.
Most of the streetcar operating money will come from the city's budget, about $2.4 million in the first full year and about $3.7 million by the fifth year.
The just-released transit plan includes some of the first public information about the cost of operating the streetcar, which is supposed to be up and running a year from now. The mayor and City Council are expected to discuss the plan Oct. 23.
The projections assume a 5 percent increase in streetcar ridership each year.
City Manager Richard Miranda said once people see the advantages of riding the streetcar, he believes more will start using it and annual ridership increases will be higher.
The RTA subsidy is expected to be $1 million a year.
The city also is counting on a $600,000 a year subsidy from the University of Arizona, although no signed agreement is yet in place.
Information from: Arizona Daily Star, http://www.azstarnet.com