Some Daily Sentinel readers believe the city of Le Mars should discontinue Queen Elizabus and the whole idea of having a bus for tourists, according to an online poll conducted by the newspaper.
Internet users at lemarssentinel.com have been offered three choices about the continued use of the red double-decker bus named Queen Elizabus since Sept. 17.
They are being asked:
What should Le Mars do about Queen Elizabus?
*Scrap the bus and the idea;
*Buy a new double decker bus.
City officials, including the mayor, city administrator, public works director, parks and recreation director, along with the manager of Ice Cream Capitol of the World® Visitor Center and members of the public, have met to discuss the status of the bus, which is in need of approximately $40,000 to $50,000 of repair.
Those studying the question are looking at the options identified in the survey and at variations of those options. For example, they are learning about the costs of used double decker buses, as well as new buses and are gathering information about trolley cars.
The Daily Sentinel has come out in support of keeping the bus noting that the Ice Cream Capital® of the World is beginning to be recognized as a tourist destination.
The Daily Sentinel maintained, "We are hoping that the baby (Le Mars' infant tourism industry) will not be thrown out with the bathwater (a unique bus that needs much help). Having a signature vehicle to take tours around town is an idea that may seem a little crazy -- kind of like that whole "Ice Cream Capital of the World" notion seemed in 1996. We believe that the double decker bus is a good idea. This particular double decker bus may not be the answer, but a replacement will cost much more than $40,000 to $50,000.
… A simple question needs to be answered: do we want tourism -- and the money it brings -- or not? If we do, we need to put our money where our mouth is and find a way to 'save Elizabus.'"
As of Sept. 26, 255 online users had cast votes in the poll. Scrap the bus and the idea received 165 of those votes or 64.7 percent. The fix it notion came in a distant second in the polling with 25.1 percent or 64 in favor of that option. Buying a new bus garnered only 10.2 percent of the vote, or 26 votes.
To cast your vote online or to see results of the voting thus far, go to lemarssentinel.com.
The next meeting to discuss Queen Elizabus and her fate or replacement -if any - will be held at noon Wednesday, Oct. 1 at city hall.