Remember the bus that was painted to resemble a trolley which killed Balboa Peninsula’s beloved Downtowner which was coming up on its third year of operation, drove people 7 days per week, got them to and from their exact destinations (not just some random “pick up point”), and cost the taxpayers $0? Well, the bus– which was projected to cost taxpayers $22 per ride, per passenger, per way– is now being discussed for renewal.
Yesterday, on Tuesday the 23rd, the City Council heard arguments during their Study Session as to why the trolley– which was disliked by most of the participants in the city’s very own survey– should be renewed. This business-killing idea was the brainchild of Diane Dixon, a councilwoman who filed to run for office just 6 months after moving to Newport Beach from LA County.
There is currently no method of transportation on the peninsula which costs more money than this bus costs to taxpayers. For comparison, you can get an Uber ride from one end of the bus line to the other for about $6.50 and pack in a family of four. That same family of four on the citys bus-that-they-call-a-trolley would cost taxpayers $88 each way, but the visitors from other counties who are riding on it pay nothing.
Most businesses on the peninsula I have spoken with have seen no measurable increase in business, and most reported that last year was a downturn from previous years. The City of Newport has stated repeatedly that busses snarl traffic and it is ideal to remove them from our streets so that we can maximize traffic flow patterns, yet when their boss (a councilperson) proposed this idea, somehow this made busses acceptable– that’s politics for you.
The likely time for this to come back to council will be in two weeks on Tuesday. As these items move forward, I will update everyone as to where to attend the meetings. It is imperative for our small community to embrace our local businesses and reject business-killing government intervention for items which cause far more harm than good.
Think this is a bad idea? Write your councilpeople at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell them NOT to renew this bus idea (if they call it a “trolley”, kindly inform them that this is a bus, regardless its paintjob).