Gig Harbor Trolley returns

Stakeholders are once again helping bring a trolley to link Uptown and the downtown waterfront

Staff writerMay 21, 2014 

Last summer, the Gig Harbor trolley got off to a late start, but that didn’t stop it from being a resounding success. The trolley is made possible by a team of partners: the city of Gig Harbor, the Downtown Waterfront Alliance, Uptown and the Chamber of Commerce.

Through the partnership, the fares are kept low in an effort to make the trolley accessible. The purpose of the trolley is to provide a link between Uptown and downtown, said Mary DesMarais, director of the waterfront alliance.

“It’s a real key piece for our visitors because we have so many boaters coming in,” she said. “It’s just a fun thing, too. I saw a lot of moms with little kids (riding the trolley).”

Last year, the trolley didn’t get rolling until July. This year the dates were adjusted to take advantage of the full season, running from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.

According to onboard surveys by Pierce Transit in August and September of 2013, out of 641 passengers, 91 percent said they would use the trolley again.

At a recent Chamber of Commerce public affairs forum, Pierce Transit business development officer Van Sawin said that last summer about 28,000 riders used the trolley.

That success is what brings the trolley back to Gig Harbor for another summer.

It’s good news for local businesses. In the Pierce Transit survey, 66 percent of the 26 merchants interviewed think the trolley positively impacted business.

The success is also resonating elsewhere. Chamber of Commerce president Warren Zimmerman said the trolley model is being explored around the state and nation.

Of course, a successful program means successful business.

“For the chamber, it means the opportunity for us to make a contribution not only to the businesses but to the people in the community,” he said.

Uptown’s Kristin Undem said tenents enjoyed the link between Uptown and the waterfront. The merchants were glad to be a part of the program.

“It’s just a great link,” Undem said.

This year, a ride on the trolley costs 50 cents. That’s an increase from last year’s 25-cent fare.

“We thought 50 cents was still a pretty reasonable way to get around and have some fun,” Zimmerman said.

Transit with a low fare means less empty buses and higher revenues. The advantage to the community is moving residents in an efficient way.

Pierce Transit is flexible in working the trolley. For the alliance-sponsored Thursday Night Out, service will extend until 8:30 p.m, DesMarais said.

For DesMaris, the link between the historic waterfront and the new development and shops in Uptown is encouraging. The trolley makes the city a little closer.

“We’re all Gig Harbor, and we have people that want to go up there, and they have people that want to get down here,” DesMarais said.

This year’s route has three stops: Point Fosdick and 45th Street; the Kimball Drive Park-and-Ride; and Harborview and Peacock Hill.

Children 5 and younger ride for free. Seniors and those with a regional reduced fare also ride for free.

Pierce Transit Trolley Schedule

PT Trolley Runs May 24 through Sept. 1, 2014

DAYFREQUENCYSPAN OF SERVICE

Monday3O minute11 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday3O minute11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Wednesday3O minute11 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Thursday3O minute11 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Friday 3O minute11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Saturday3O minute9:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Sunday3O minute12 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

FaresAdultYouthSenior/Disabled*

One Ride5050FREE

Monthly Regional Pass$18$18FREE

*To be eligible for Discounted Fare, passenger must show a Regional Reduced Fare Permit. Visit Pierce Transit at piercetransit.org or call Customer Service at 253.581.8000

Karen Miller: 253-358-4155 karen.miller@gateline.com

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