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Trolley OKd to Make Loop in Ventura

August 04, 1988|JESSE KATZ | Times Staff Writer

An open-air streetcar linking the Ventura Harbor with the downtown area was approved Monday by the Ventura City Council, but will not start running until at least next week, city officials said.

Diana Madison, who was awarded the franchise for the Buenaventura Trolley Works, was ready to begin operating the colorful 32-passenger vehicle this week.

However, a last-minute snag in her financial agreement with the city delayed the start-up until her contract can be reworked at Monday's council meeting, officials said.

Loop Every Hour

The so-called "trackless trolley," which runs with tires on city streets, will make the loop every hour, six days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., said Madison, who has provided similar service in Santa Barbara for the last three years. The round trip fare will be $2.

"It's an attractive feature that makes it easier for tourists to utilize the oceanfront corridor," said Everett Millais, the city's community development director. "I don't think, by itself, it will boost tourism. But it is an amenity."

As part of the plan, the city agreed to give Madison $4,692 to help her purchase liability insurance, and lent her company, Willowglen Investment Corp., $10,000, to be paid back at 8% interest within two years.

Loan Guarantee

In approving the franchise, however, the city stipulated that Madison personally guarantee the loan in the event that her corporation is unable to repay it. Madison was unwilling to do that, and a new agreement is being worked out, city officials said.

Madison said 80% of the trolley's revenue will be generated through $500-a-month ads on the outside of the vehicle and $175-a-month ads inside. She said fares will account for only 12% of revenue, and special charters will make up the other 8%.

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