Credit: Photograph by Darrow Montgomery

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For 43 years, squat blue trams known as Tourmobiles dominated tourist traffic on the Mall. Entrepreneur Tom Mack’s National Park Service-sanctioned monopoly kept other tour operators, pedicabs, and even the District’s own Circulator buses off its route, charging $32 per person. Even after Mack died in 2009, the Park Service renewed Tourmobile’s contract without putting it out to bid. Turns out that was illegal. So with little fanfare, Tourmobile announced that it would cease operations on Nov. 1. The Park Service is seeking a temporary successor to take over the old blue trams, but the monopoly is over. No longer will they have the exclusive right to tote tourists around the Mall. Pedicabs can breathe easy.