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Downtown trolley in trouble | Napa Valley Register
Friday 6 Feb 2009, 08:34
Filed under: Napa Valley, transit

Downtown trolley in trouble | Napa Valley Register.

The Napa Downtown Trolley is fighting for its life again.

Downtown property owners intend to pull a $50,000 annual subsidy, saying the trolleys aren’t attracting enough tourists to justify such a major expense.


The trolleys are operated as part of the VINE, the local bus system. NCTPA reported in 2007 that the trolleys carried 55,000 passengers annually, exceeding three of the VINE’s seven traditional routes.

Unfortunately, from the perspective of downtown businesses, the vast majority of the 55,000 riders were thought to be locals, not high-spending tourists.

Many locals have been attracted to the free trolleys, which circle between the Oxbow District and Napa Premium Outlets.

Most of the trolley’s annual cost, approaching $300,000, is paid for from state gas tax revenues, the same as VINE buses. Downtown merchants and property owners pay the rest.


1 Comment

For years, Downtown Napa (DTN) has had Trolley service, and in conjunction with free parking and well positioned parking garages, it also had decent visitor count and necessary interest to make it a sustainable retail environment. To see further growth though, ‘certain’ Napa property owners should forget past history and release DTN from such handcuffs and allow healthy retail and community events to migrate back to downtown versus leapfrog out to shopping malls which encourage further sprawl toward AG. (see successful locations like Healdsburg, Sebastopol and Petaluma for comparable mid-size communities). Trolleys are expensive, and for the time being, local businesses should have the right to fore go this expense, after all, DTN isn’t that big and walking between errands would do most of us good. until retail and office storefronts fill again, cutting the Trolley appears fiscally necessary.

Comment by DTN supporter

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