Potential Sources of Operating Revenue for
Not all modern streetcar or heritage trolley operations charge
fares, but if fares are charged they can cover some operating expenses.
Typically, fares will not cover a very high percentage of operating costs.
Advertising on cars and/or stations
As with other public transit operations,
advertising can be displayed in these vehicles in the traditional racks
running above the windows along the edge of the ceiling, and/or on larger panels
on the exterior sides or dashes of the car.
Traditional transit subsidies
General operating subsidies from
governmental sources may be available for modern streetcar heritage trolley operations, as for
conventional transit operations.
Streetcars can provide a suitable
venue for holding a rolling party or providing group transportation to a special
event. Fees for such charters can cover direct operating costs and contribute to
general operating expenses. In Melbourne, Australia a dinner tram is operated, on
which a multi course meal is served at a premium price as the car rolls through
the city. If a line is of sufficient length to enable such an
operation, it could be a money maker.
Sale of naming rights to stations, cars
Tampa used this approach to help build the
endowment that will support operation of the heritage line. (See
Tampa Project Description). Sale of naming rights could also contribute to
Holding celebrity benefit events to raise funds
Portland held an inaugural event at the
beginning of heritage service selling tickets for $100 to $250, and raised
$30,000 toward the fund for operations. (See
Portland’s New/Old Trolleys)
Building an endowment to support operations
Tampa raised an endowment from private
sector contributions for naming rights to cover operating costs of the line.
(See Tampa Project Description).
Combined tickets to sporting, theatrical, or other special events including
Joint marketing arrangements with
attractions served by a line may provide a source of income and another way to
expose riders to a rail line for the first time. In Geneva,
Switzerland, the city streetcar system gains revenue from a share of parking
fees paid by users of parking garages along the streetcar line. In exchange,
parkers have the right to use the streetcars free for a specified period of
time. A similar arrangement could be used as an incentive for drivers to park at
the end of a heritage line, then ride downtown, thus reducing auto congestion in
a central area.
Tampa planned use of CMAQ (Congestion
Mitigation and Air Quality funds) toward operating expenses in the initial years
of the heritage trolley. (See Tampa Project
Tax on businesses benefiting from line
Portland implemented a Local Improvement
District tax for businesses along the streetcar route (See
Portland’s New/Old Trolleys). Tampa similarly enacted a tax applying to businesses in
the 300-acre area to be served by the heritage trolley line (See
Tampa Project Description). Most systems being planned are counting on this source of funding.
Voluntary contributions from businesses benefiting from line
If owners of businesses served by a line
feel it contributes to their business, they may agree to regular contributions
toward operating expenses.