In 2019, a free trolley service project garnered $90,000 in funding — $18,000 from each of the five districts — during the city’s participatory budgeting process. Members of the community voted on how a portion of the city’s budget would be spent and the trolley project received the highest number of votes during the process. The project also received $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds following a city council decision in January. Four dedicated, diesel-powered buses will be retrofitted to look like old trolleys so they can serve a fun, new purpose. The service is a pilot program scheduled to run through the end of the year.
The trolleys hit the streets on July 17 at 11 a.m. Trolleys will circulate through areas of downtown seven days a week from the early morning to around midnight, rolling through city streets Monday through Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Over the last month, voters got another chance to participate in the project by naming the trolley service. Out of more than 500 submitted ideas, the “Hopper” was a favorite according to the city. In a news release from the city, Department of Transportation Director Hanna Cockburn said that the name evokes “how people will use the service,” by hopping on and off. “It also pays homage to our hometown team, the Greensboro Grasshoppers, and the cannons used during the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, also called grasshoppers,” Cockburn said.
The trolley route will run along parts of Elm Street and arrive at stops every 5-7 minutes near places such as the South Elm Street/Union Square area, Broach Theatre, the Civil Rights Museum, the Tanger Center, Center City Park and the LoFi Park area, including several major downtown employers. The route will also connect riders to several existing Greensboro Transit Agency routes.
Service details, like hours or stop locations, may change throughout the pilot program as city transit planners study rider patterns.
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