Downtown trolley to resume operations next month

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By: Marisa Herman

Associate Editor 

The downtown trolley will resume service on Nov. 1.

The Community Redevelopment Agency board voted to fund the trolley service for three months with an option to extend an additional three months while the city and agency board discuss new methods of downtown transportation.

The cost to run the free service totals $120,000 for three months. 

Board member Adam Frankel cast the sole dissenting vote. Trolley operations ceased on Oct. 1. 

“Putting the trolley back is a Band-Aid,” board member Bill Bathurst said. “Would I like to see something else other than the trolley, yes, I would like to see a comprehensive parking and transportation plan. Until we create an overall policy, we can’t pull everything out. By pulling everything out, we show how weak our system is.”

Bathurst was referring to the simultaneous ending of the trolley and the Downtowner golf cart, tip-based ride service. 

Regional Director of Operations for Ocean Properties Rick Konsavage, which owns the Delray Marriott, said many of his employees are having difficulty getting to work since the trolley stopped running. 

“A lot our employees that use this are low income and they have a lot of transportation issues getting to and from work,” he said. “They use this as a vehicle to get to and from work every day and at night. It is very difficult in the hospitality industry to retain employees. This was a very big factor for us in getting them to and from work.”

Board member Ryan Boylston said he supported reinstating the trolley if the schedule was reviewed and adjusted based on ridership, if data is collected dealing with ridership and if an app is in place that explains the service is free and where it operates. 

He said many people don’t know if they need change to ride it, if they have to stay at a specific hotel to use it or if it is a tour bus. 

Agency board staff recommended running the trolley through season so the agency and board can evaluate downtown transportation needs and options. The board will have a workshop on the topic on Nov. 14.