5 Ways The City Of El Paso Can Make Money Off The Streetcar
If you listen to Mike and Tricia Mornings you know that Mike and I don't see eye to eye on the downtown streetcar. He hates it and thinks it's a waste of time and money. I love it and see it as an amenity that we need to ramp up our tourism game in the downtown area. If we can get businesses to bear the brunt of property taxes by renovating buildings for commercial and hotel enterprises then home owners won't be carrying the entire load of the City's budget on their backs. Having a streetcar helps move people around downtown and the UTEP area and it's something the City hasn't cashed in on yet.
City officials said on Monday that they intend to bring back the streetcar in the fall. They are also working on ways to make it free again, so how can they make money on a streetcar with free fares? Here are a few things I've thought up off the top of my head. They are things I've seen in other cities, and before Mike can say, "Yeah but this is El Paso," let me say, I'm not trying to turn us into Austin or Dallas or any other city. We need to have things for people to do. These are a few ways to do that:
1. Pub crawls - There are a lot of great bars in the downtown and UTEP area but who wants to walk between them and pay for parking in the Cinci and downtown areas? Sell a $10 bar ticket that gives you access to the streetcar all night. The City could also have events that take you to different bars on the streetcar route both in downtown and the UTEP area.
2. Church crawls - Do once a month streetcar tours of the downtown area and hit Immaculate Conception, Sacred Heart, and St. Patrick's Cathedral. Charge $10 per person to not only ride the streetcar to the different churches but also have a host tell the history of each church during the ride.
3. Restaurant crawls - The City already does restaurant crawls but you have to walk between the locations. I hate that. Charge $50 a ticket for the tastings and the streetcar.
4. Bridal parties - Along the same lines as a bar crawl, but rent out the streetcar for a bridal party and let them do a pre-determined pub crawl. $25 per person. Beats finding parking and then heading up or down Mesa to a different location and having to repark your vehicle. Team up with Uber or a taxi company for a safe ride home.
5. History crawls - With as much history as there is in the downtown area and the continual sell out of ghost walks and history walks, use the streetcar and hold those during the day or the evening and ditch the walking part. I love going on those tours but I'd rather hop the streetcar between locations.
Come on City of El Paso and Sun Metro, these are ideas I came up with in 10 minutes. You guys need to do something to make this streetcar system work for tourists, El Pasoans, and taxpayers. Get it together already.