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Community Digest

Long Beach

September 12, 1985

A popular tram on the downtown Promenade that links Shoreline Village with the Plaza shopping mall probably will resume service by this weekend, its operators said Wednesday.

The tram--a favorite of hotel guests, conventioneers and shoppers--stopped running Aug. 30 after Transit Contractors Inc. of Long Beach was unable to secure a new policy for liability insurance, said senior vice president John Barbati.

"We're 90% certain this service will be back on the street by Friday or Saturday," said Barbati.

If all goes well, Long Beach Transit, the city agency that oversees the tram operation, will add the tram service to its insurance policy, said Barbati. Long Beach Transit already reimburses tram operators for their insurance costs, he said.

The tram, which operated seven days a week, carried about 700 passengers a day, said Guy Heston, spokesman for Long Beach Transit.

The liability insurance market, very tight this year for both public agencies and private companies, expressed no interest in insuring his tram business, said Barbati.

"We (couldn't) find anyone willing to write it at any price," he said.

The rebuffs from insurance companies came despite a good safety record for the tram, said Barbati and Heston.

Barbati said none of the 24-passenger trams, which began running in August, 1983, has had a vehicular accident. "The only accidents we've had are minor passenger injuries, people stumbling when they've gotten off--that sort of thing," he said.

Tram operators paid $10,908 for $2.5 million in liability insurance coverage last fiscal year, Barbati said.

Long Beach Transit's insurance premiums jumped from $59,726 to $535,222 this fiscal year, while coverage decreased from $20 million with a $100,000 deductible to $16 million with $500,000 deductible, said Heston.

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