Seattle's monorail has had its fair share of problems:
In 2004, a fire from a mechanical failure sent eight people to the hospital because of smoke inhalation. Last fall, two trains collided, an avoidable embarrassment that, luckily, injured no one seriously but shut down the monorail for nine months. And just last month, right after the monorail was returned to service, two breakdowns occurred, the second of which left about 200 passengers suspended for as much as 40 minutes without a clue as to why.
It was supposed to usher in an era of monorail-building in cities across the country. Obviously, that didn't happen. Now the monorail, which first opened in 1962 is sitting, unused, while the Seattle city council votes whether to fund $4.5 million in needed improvements.
The monorail seems quaint and outdated, but the fact is that 2 million people a year ride it when it's functioning. $4.5 million seems like a pretty good price for that kind of return.