DALLAS — By early 2015, new streetcars will be running from Union Station in downtown Dallas to Colorado and Beckley in Oak Cliff.
Businesses nearby are thrilled — but not with the city's proposed hours of operation for the streetcar line: Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Peter Saucedo owns the Oak Cliff Social Club in the Bishop Arts District. His hope is that next year, people will get off the streetcar and walk a few blocks to his bar.
"That right there is just going to increase commerce and traffic and everything," he said.
But while the city found nearly $50 million to pay for the construction of the line, there's not enough left over for full-time operation, which is why the hours seem designed more for business than pleasure.
"What’s the point then?" Saucedo asked. "In order to experience the beauty of Bishop Arts and what it’s doing, you have to have people who are here for our nightlife."
District One City Council member Scott Griggs agrees.
"To make that work, you need evening service and weekend service, and we want that on Day One," he said.
The City of Dallas says they based the proposed streetcar schedule on shifts at Methodist Dallas Medical Center, which is where Phase One of the streetcar line stops.
But we’re told the hours could extend once Phase Two is built, which would take riders to the heart of Bishop Arts.
If the city can find the money.
"I think we can get over that hurdle," Griggs said. "I think there’s going to be the will — not only with me, but my other collegues."
Saucedo’s and other businesses are counting on it.
"We're not getting the hours that we thought, but at least we have it coming, so we can eventually extend those hours," he said.