Ridership Drop with Fares?
The Charlotte Observer reports that Gold Line streetcar ridership on the 1.5-mile line through Uptown continues to be higher than planners anticipated but no fares are charged. A question is whether ridership will hold up when fares are implemented.
The city plans to charge the price of a one-way bus or train fare when the second phase opens in 2019 or 2020, which will make the line 4 miles. Today that fare is $2.20.
Atlanta's experience indicates ridership could suffer. In late 2014 that city opened a streetcar line of similar length and charged no fares, but when a $1 fare was implemented early this year ridership dropped by 57 percent.
A construction contract is expected to be awarded this fall for a $150 million streetcar extension on both ends of the existing line that would increase the length to four miles. Included is $33 million to replace the Gomaco-built double truck replica Birneys with modern streetcars.
The city expects the extended Gold Line will spur developers to build new apartments, stores and offices along the route.
Construction Bids High
The city has received bids for extending the 1.5-mile Gold Line streetcar in Uptown on both its east and west ends for a total of four miles. The construction proposals came in millions of dollars over budget, The Charlotte Observer reports. Two bids were received and both were rejected. The city hopes to negotiate a lower price from both bidders.
For the originally-estimated $93.2 million in construction work, Conti Enterprise bid $123.3 million – more than 30 percent over the city budget. Balfour Beatty Infrastructure bid $128.5 million – nearly 40 percent over the city budget
The bids were rejected and the city is planning to negotiate lower figures with both firms. The city had hoped to award a contract this summer and now hopes the project will not be badly delayed by the negotiation process.