I know that the idea has been thrown around many times but I think that the City needs to revist the idea of a cable car/trolley running down Elmwood. It would not be meant to replace the 20 bus entirely, just supplement the area.
It could start at Niagara Square heading up Elmwood north, go to Hertel heading east, then turn down Parkside south bound, turn around at Agassiz Circle and then just follow the same route back and be able to make a circle back around Niagara Square. The route would connect downtown, Allentown, Elmwood Village, Buffalo State College, Burchfield Penny, Albright Knox, Hertel, Buffalo Zoo, Delaware Park, the Martin Darwin House and Medaille College.
It would also be close to the metro rail downtown to provide connections. The buses could still run along Elmwood and Hertel as needed for those use them for transportation to and from work – I’m picturing this as more of a connector between several districts. It would only need maybe 4 to 6 trains total with trains running maybe every half hour or so.
This might not replace people’s needs for a car all the time, but for a night out, someone who lives in one area could easily take the cable car out to other areas and back home again easily. It would also be easy for any tourists and travelers in the area.
For residents of the city, many people who never would take a bus over the convenience of driving might be more willing to take a cable car, especially if the cost is kept low. It seems that anything on a track has less of a stigma compared to a bus. For any travelers, I think that it is less intimidating to get on a cable car that physically cannot go on a different route compared to a bus that might have different variations, plus this route would cover a lot of ground and places all in one trip. It could promoted in Niagara Falls, a tourist up there would only need to take either Amtrak to downtown, or the Niagara Falls bus that comes right downtown and then they would be able to enjoy everything Buffalo has to offer. Hotels in downtown Buffalo could maybe even offer free passes to promote use as well.
Ticket prices could be $1 per ride or unlimited day pass for $5 which could also work with all busses and the subway. If this ever came to fruition, it would need to be promoted to death, really show the public the benefits of it… can we say cable car bar crawl?
A project like this could really add a lot to the city. I’m not sure if it would be the biggest money maker itself, but it would add to our quality of life. People are becoming more open to using public transportation, if not all the time, at least on occasion to supplement owning a vehicle. This would show that Buffalo can offer those benefits to our residents at a cost much lower than a subway.