The West Hollywood City Council decided it needed more information before approving an entertainment shuttle that would transport people on a loop through the Boystown and Sunset Strip areas on weekends.
. Councilmember saying such a shuttle would ease traffic congestion by allowing people to move from one area to the next while only parking their cars once. He said it might also reduce DUI arrests for people.
However, the Council felt the report it received at its Monday night meeting was unsatisfactory, saying it was lacking details about costs and ridership.
The Council was unclear on whether to use the existing Cityline shuttle buses or to rent/buy new shuttles.
If the Cityline buses were used, the staff report estimated it would costs approximately $160,000 per year to do the nighttime shuttle.
If new trolley-type vehicles were purchased, it would cost approximately $800,000 to $1 million per year. If used trolleys were purchased, it would costs $300,000 to $400,000 per year. If trolleys were leased, it would cost approximately $200,000 per year.
Between 1992 and 1997, the city ran a similar nighttime shuttle, but it suffered from low ridership because it was perceived as public transportation.
Duran argued against using the Cityline buses, saying the shuttle needed to be sexy and have a party type atmosphere in order to lure riders. “If people think they’re taking public transit, they won’t,” Duran said.
Councilmember John Heilman argued for using the Cityline buses, saying, “They may not be sexy, but they get people where they want to go.”
City Manager Paul Arevalo said funds from Measure A and Measure R could cover much of the cost. He also suggested the city investigate branding opportunities by running ads on the side of the shuttle.
Heilman said in the 1990s, the city explored advertising but no company was interested. But he conceded that the situation may have changed in the 15 years since the shuttles were abandoned.
Mayor Pro Tem Abbe Land was unclear who would be using the shuttle – residents or people coming into town from elsewhere.
Councilmember John D’Amico said a carefully orchestrated marketing plan would be needed to get the word out. He suggested getting the city’s events department involved to help promote it.
Mayor Jeff Prang said that professional analysis was needed in terms ridership and funding before the city commits the money to a shuttle.
The Council instructed staff to come back with a more detailed report in August and also to send out a Request for Proposals for professional analysis.