An analysis of costs and ridership of the City of Tallahassee’s complimentary trolley service shows that taxpayers paid $18 for each trolley rider over the period from February to May, 2017.
According to the city’s website, the trolley service was developed to make it “convenient to take a break from your daily routine and support our local economy while expanding your dining options and making new connections.”
The lunch-time service provides routes that connect the Downtown to Midtown, College Town and Cascades Park. The night-time route runs continuously between Midtown, Downtown and College Town. The launch of this service also included signage, free Wi-Fi on the trolleys and a real-time map of each trolley’s location accessible through a smartphone.
The operational information, included in the city’s budget workshop presentations, shows that from February (service started February 2oth) to May of this year, operation costs were $210,285 and the total ridership was 11,753. The cost per rider is calculated to be $17.9 per rider.
Breaking the numbers out for lunch and dinner service, the analysis shows that each rider cost taxpayers $31 during the lunch service and $7.1 during the dinner service.
These calculations are based on $50,000 per month in costs for the lunch trolley service and $14,400 per month in costs for the dinner trolley service.
The city provided a monthly break down of the lunch time riders. Those numbers are provided below with cost information.
Month Riders $/Rider
February 484 30
March 1,931 26
April 2,415 21
May 478 105
Total 5,308 31
Not surprisingly, the numbers show a significant spike in readership during months when the Florida Legislature was in session.
TR will have an update after the budget workshop on June 14th, 2017.