The ribbon-cutting for the USD51m Delmar Loop heritage tramline in St Louis (US) took place on 15 November, though public service was delayed due to a snowstorm. The first passengers were carried on part of the line on 16 November (there is still an insurance issue with the University City portion). Service is initially provided Thursday-Sunday afternoons/evenings only.
Fares are USD2 for two hours or USD5 all day. Car 003 (ex-Seattle 512) has still to arrive from its rebuild at GOMACO.
Public transport ridership across the city is experiencing serious decline with MetroLink and bus passenger numbers down 20% over the last five years. Transport authority Metro Transit is assessing how to reverse this trend as the city pursues the first major expansion of its LRT system in more than a decade, a USD667m Northside-Southside link from Chippewa Boulevard in the south through downtown to Grand Boulevard in the north.
Executive Director Jessica Mefford-Miller told the St Louis Post-Dispatch that the worrying fall in passenger numbers is due to a number of factors, including serious crime, anti-social behaviour, a stagnant population and the low cost of private car use.
St Louis County Council withheld USD5m from Metro Transit this autumn until it is satisfied that rider safety concerns have been addressed. Ms Mefford-Miller said that enhanced security visibility and a closer relationship with police are high on her list of priorities.