That's funny, I worked in Syracuse, on the SU campus, until 2005 and never saw a running train. Until I read this article, I had thought the stations were abandoned relics from a happier time decades ago, like much of Syracuse's industrial landscape. The Carousel Center stop looked like a bus station, and it was at the outer edge of the enormous parking lot surrounding the 3-story mall. The limited service of these cars seems a shame, and they're so good-looking!
Looking at the map, it seems their best use would have been ferrying students to the miniature downtown (Armory Square), the mall, and then the Amtrak station, making them essentially a campus shuttle. As the tracks doesn't stretch out to the newer growth on Erie Blvd., (Syracuse's version of Southside) it doesn't seem to have been practical for non-students living downtown or in the places where population density off-campus has migrated -east and west, toward the towns of Manlius and Camillus.
Syracuse is a spread-out city, where you are best served by a car or bus (try riding your bike in a foot of cold wet slush!) if you don't live on campus. Even if I had known there was a train to take me to the mall after work, how would I get home without taking the bus, or taking the train back to my car? Why not just take the bus to begin with if the train is only a short-track novelty? And I thought the Skyway Express was limited.
I'm sure there wasn't much economic incentive to keep or expand the trains. Outside of the University, the younger generation and retirees are moving away, despite public quality-of-life campaigns. Which is a shame. At least Jacksonville and its surrounding areas are growing, we've got that going for us. I bet there are tons of Syracusians down here.