Route to the Future

The Philadelphia Inquirer discusses the efficiency of trolley systems with Marc Scribner.

Marc Scribner, research fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington-based free-market think tank, described trolleys as inflexible, similar to an elevator that runs horizontally.

He has publicly criticized one of the most troubled streetcar projects on the East Coast, a light rail built on H Street in Washington. Despite costing $200 million over the last decade, according to a recent Washington Post report, it has yet to begin carrying passengers.

Blocked tracks on the Route 15 trolley in Philadelphia are good arguments for buses, which can steer around parked cars, Scribner said. He admitted, though, that the 40th Street Portal in Philadelphia offered benefits that justified some trolleys.

"I think they should look route by route and see what they could possibly replace with bus routes," he said.

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