Bus or Streetcar? Boise Ponders a 'Circulator' Through Downtown
As Downtown Boise grows and parking spots become harder to find, the push is on once again to create a downtown circulator that would follow a 'T'-shaped loop, running east-west through downtown and north-south, with a connection to the Boise State University campus. George Prentice of the Boise Weekly reports that at an open house on March 14, residents had a chance to view the potential route. The biggest question may be what form the circulator takes: bus or streetcar. Prentice writes that Boise Mayor Dave Bieter was an early supporter of the streetcar option, although economic analysis shows that the cost of the streetcar loop would be five times that for a fixed-route bus system.
Most open house visitors gravitated to a chart comparing the economics of streetcars versus buses. For example, the assumption is that construction of a streetcar system might cost $111 million compared to $23 million to fund a permanent bus service on the route. Presuming there would be no fare, the assumption is that as many as 1,400 people would ride the streetcar each day with 1,100 on a bus.