Over the past two weeks, Charlotte, NC and Tampa, FL have both hosted major events – the nominating conventions for the Democratic and Republican parties, respectively.
The cities have a lot in common. They’re both Sun Belt cities, they both have a spread-out cityscape, they’re both in battleground states. Charlotte’s bigger, but Tampa is part of a larger region.
One thing they don’t have in common, however, is the efficiency with which they were able to move delegates around for those conventions. Charlotte, you see, has a light rail system called LYNX. It’s been running for five years now and was apparently able to pick up a lot of the slack, in terms of shuttling people back and forth without putting undue stress on the city’s road network:
About 250 buses will be used to move nearly 6,000 delegates to DNC events. In Tampa, 400 buses were used to ferry 2,200 delegates, a plan that was later deemed insufficient after several buses were late for several state delegations, including New Jersey, Utah and Florida.
Some delegates missed part of the convention or were returned to their hotel rooms after 3 a.m. Florida Republicans had to hire more buses to cope.
So Charlotte officials were expecting to need 150 fewer buses to move 3800 more people, solely because of the presence of light rail. That’s impressive.
It’s actually kind of fitting that the RNC had more problems moving people through Tampa. After all, it was the far-right Tea Party types who derailed Tampa’s rail plans two years ago. They’ve made Tampa in their image. I only hope it has turned out to be to their liking.
Too bad we’re all stuck with it.