Thursday, May 31, 2012

San Francisco's historic rail vehicles - today a civic cash cow

a preserved Pacific Electric PCC car on the 5-mile (8 km) F Market line, seen here on Embarcadero.
although most of the fleet on the F Market line comprises PCC cars, it also has some ex-Milan trams and even a Melbourne tram in original livery.

If you think the $5 or $US 4 it costs to ride the historic Wynyard Quarter tram in Auckland is dear, the one-way fare on the San Francisco Cable Car lines of $6 is even higher, although you can substantially reduce that by buying a 1, 2 or 3 day "go as you please" city Muni pass.

It was fortunate that San Francisco's railed public transport vehicles were spared the "if it runs on rails close it and rip it out" thinking that prevailed 50-60 years ago, and which is still found among politicians like NZ's Steven Joyce.

One of the things that a dummkopf like Mr Joyce and his sycophants fail to appreciate is that having visitor attractions will attract visitors; even if something doesn't make a nominal bean-counter profit, it can be considered a tourism"loss leader" with overall spending on other things more than compensating for it.

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