12 June, 2008

WHAT IS A POTATO CHIP TRUCK? OR PCT-"TROLLEY"





Those ridiculous looking Imitation Trolleys

They ride like cantaloupe trucks and the reason is they are not far removed, in fact most are not built on transit bus platforms at all. Welcome to Jacksonville's unique faux trolley world

Jacksonville Transportation Authority is a laughing stock among locals as they continue to buy, plan and market their "Trolley" gimmick. As IF the citizens of Jacksonville were fooled. EVERYONE knows these buses built on the frames of glorified Potato-Chip-Trucks are NOT TROLLEYS. They are not even Trolley Buses. They ARE an insult to the intelligence and image of our City. Instead of being the City with the States Largest Streetcar (real Trolley) system. We are becoming a mecca of the plastic and foam imitation on rubber tires, hold the rail and electric wires please. No one at JTA thinks we are worth spending a few extra coins for a real streetcar trolley. By the way, I have a firm quote that would give us two REAL and brand new streetcars for a bit under $1 million dollars. The FTA thinks they have a life span of between 35 and 100 years. Those little fake looking, amusement park rejects, are costing us over a quarter of a million a copy and they'll last only 12 years or 500,000 miles. Sad that City hall won't blow the whistle, sad that JTA has never seen a highway vehicle they didn't love, sad that our fleet of "Trolleys" will park if a REAL fuel crisis hits. Only Cities with electric shuttle buses and REAL streetcars will be mobile when the gas pump turns off. Those cities will be able to use the power from hydro-electric, natural gas, wind, solar, low sulfur coal or landfill methane to power their economy, Jacksonville will be in the dark. These are vehicles only Frito-Lay could love. I'm embarrassed every time I have an out of town visitor that notices one. PLEASE don't judge us by these stupid little trucks, Jacksonville is better then this, REALLY!
Photos:
1. The infamous JTA PCT-Thinks-It's-A-Trolley
2. It's kissing cousin, the Potato Chip Truck (note the wheels, tires and wheelbase)
3. Engine and chassis assembly for the PCT-Trolley, NO RAIL VEHICLE here.

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The arguments rage to this date, "Should have never been built," "waste of taxpayer money," "Doesn't go anywhere," "Nobody rides it..." etc. Bottom line is we have it, and it is finally showing signs of life. Simple extensions to the Stadium, San Marco, and the area of Blue Cross in North Riverside would turn this little train around. Addition of Park and Ride garages and multimodal transit terminals at the end points would bring on the crowds. The video must have been shot on a Sunday Morning, as downtown is certainly as packed with life as any other major City on weekdays. Jacksonville is a city of Bikes, joggers, walkers, buses and cars, one almost wonders how the photographer managed to find this quiet moment.

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