Staunton’s Trolley Folly

One of the benefits of working in downtown Staunton this summer is that I get to take the trolley to work every day. The trolley is free and it is operated by the City of Staunton. The trolley has two routes: Green and Silver. The Green route loops around downtown, and the Silver Route runs a larger route around the entire City.

Unfortunately, the City of Staunton does not have accurate maps for its Silver Route. The City has a map for the Silver Route on its website, but this map is completely wrong. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of discovering this inaccuracy first hand. When I was going downtown for my first day of work I missed my stop because I anticipated the trolley making a turn that was represented on the City’s inaaccurate map. Needless to say I was late and ticked off.

I confronted Staunton’s Visitor Center about the trolley issue and they laughed and told me that they didn’t have any maps displaying the trolley’s actual route. They told me to call the bus driver to learn the actual route.

No map! Are you serious? As a cartographer, urban planner, and long-term resident of Staunton, I am embarrassed for the City. Not only does the City not have an accurate map, but it continues to publish a map that is completely wrong!

How is the City of Staunton going to operate a first class transportation system if it cannot show the actual trolley routes?

I’m a big fan of the trolley, and I think it has the potential to be successful in the Queen City. Times are changing: gas prices are soaring, downtown Staunton is thriving, residents want to live in urban environments, and the public becoming more environmentally conscious. The City of Staunton must address its inefficiencies to ensure that it does not turn away potential transit users.

When the trolleys were first implemented several years ago there was a backlash because the general public did not see the need for a free public bus system in a small little mountain town. More specifically, residents didn’t want to see their tax money go to waste. Taxpayers will see their hard-earned money go down the drain if the City cannot clean up its act. People are not going to ride the trolleys if they don’t know where they’re going or if they have a bad experience.

First and foremost, the City must remove its outdated map (was that map ever accurate?) and replace it with an up-to-date version.

I will not rest until justice is served!

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