Taking the trolley around town could cost you as little as nothing. Maybe.
“It is certainly possible that in certain areas of the city it would be free,” District Department of Transportation Director Gabe Klein tells WTOP.
City officials yesterday unveiled a 66-foot-long, 168-seat Czech-designed prototype of the streetcars planned to one day shuttle Washingtonians to and fro. (Our own Lydia DePillis was on the scene.) The city’s proposed 37-mile streetcar system will cost a reported $1.5 billion to build. But, at this early stage in development, the price of a fare seems harder to pin down:
“We could also design something where you pay once per day, or it could just be inexpensive — it could just be a dollar,” says Klein. “So we will structure it in such a way that people feel very comfortable using it at will, anytime they need it.”
Klein points to Portland’s “fareless square” as a model of what might be possible in terms of free transit.
Closely examining the streetcar prototype on display, the, um, Examiner yesterday couldn’t help but notice the metal arms atop the car that would connect to overhead power lines, noting:
A law dating from the 1890s bans overhead wires in much of the District.
DDOT’s Scott Kubly told the paper the city “hasn’t given up on changing the law. But it is working on creating the nation’s first hybrid system to use overhead wires in portions of the city, then switch to an alternative power source for areas with views of the Capitol, the Washington Monument or other landmarks.”