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Trolley Success Opens Discussion for Summer

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Posted: Thursday, March 8, 2018 9:39 am

The Rim Weekend Trolley through Mountain Transit will once again be traversing the mountain this summer.

The community support for the trolley was “overwhelming,” said Tiffany Millburn, community outreach coordinator for Mountain Transit. She explained that community members loved the trolley, and noted, “There’s something about the trolley that makes people smile, and something about hearing that bell that just feels like summer. It just makes them happy. We had regular riders riding last year who would ride that on the weekends.”

She continued, “They [the regular riders] liked the trolley better; there was more talking and laughing. The community has such a rich history and so many neat things to see. That was the most challenging part: hitting as many of them as we could and connecting people to some of those places.”

The trolley service will begin May 18 and run through Oct. 28. Although last year there was a break between Labor Day and Oktoberfest, that won’t be an element incorporated this year.

According to Millburn, the time frame will accommodate more community events, like the Rotary Art and Wine Festival and the Lake Arrowhead Home Tour.

The other new element this year is a new trolley that will be “just slightly shorter, to navigate the curves a little better.”

Planning for the trolley this year has been extensive. “We worked with Vicki [Goodglick] at the [Lake Arrowhead] Village, we reached out to SkyPark [at Santa’s Village] and kind of made sure what their concert schedules and times were,” she said. “We can’t meet everybody’s activities, but the coverage will hit as many activities happening in the summer as we can. Blue Jay Village has stuff going on, Top Town has stuff going on, TudorVille always has stuff going on. We tried to get the broadest reach that we could to meet those needs.”

Millburn mentioned, “We’re excited about this trolley. We’re really looking forward to how it grows and seeing if, ultimately, the community would support it year-round. We’ll take time and data to see how that works.”

The Rim Weekend Trolley was a demonstration project, available for a limited amount of time for community support, that began last summer. As specified by Millburn, it started because of a response from the community.

“The initial conversation happened with a community member, and we started looking into how we could accomplish that,” she said. “We very quickly saw a lot of support from the Chamber of Commerce, Lake Arrowhead Village, the Tudor House and places like that.”

The trolley connected the mountain communities to the Lake Arrowhead Village Summer Concert Series, the Tudor House for their Sunday morning Farmer’s Markets, SkyPark and other summer activities in Crestline and Lake Gregory. “Those were things that weren’t accessible if you didn’t have a vehicle or if you were unfamiliar with the area,” Millburn shared. “[It was great for] people just wanting to explore and get out of the house, and it provided an opportunity for that.”

“Last year, it was more about trying to identify where we could go and what areas we could connect and what people wanted to see. This year, we have a much clearer idea,” she further explained.

The trolley quickly found popularity, and, before the route ended on its planned date of Labor Day, it was extended.

“Initially, it was planned from Memorial Day to Labor Day. However, Lake Arrowhead Village had all those Oktoberfest events, and it had parking issues at that time. So, it was a no-brainer to extend it.”

Millburn couldn’t attribute one element only to the trolley’s popularity. “It’s hard to explain. Something about that bell made people smile; it made it feel like something here was new and exciting in the community; another way to connect situations and activities that they loved. The feedback we got was that they liked being able to see the concerts; that was the biggest one.”

She highlighted, “It was an adventure last year, and we’re excited to do it again this year.”

The demonstration route did not include Running Springs last year. Millburn disclosed that, at this time, this would continue this year. “I don’t see that [the trolley in Running Springs] occurring this year, as of yet. I’m not the ultimate answer on that. But, as far as miles go, there’s only so far and so long the route can be.”

Although Millburn said that they couldn’t do much about the trolley as far as Running Springs was concerned, they were making adjustments to Routes 2 and 4 that will start in May. “[The new adjustments] may provide more connectivity in Running Springs to connect to Route 2 for people who want to go to the Village and things like that. Route 2 is changing so that people can go to the Lake Gregory Community Center and meet those needs in the community. While it definitely won’t look like a trolley bus, the services are definitely there and we’re working every day to improve them.”

Millburn concluded, “We’re getting there. It’s slow. It’s planning the routes and public meetings and trying to meet the communities’ needs the best and most efficient way we can.”

  • Discuss

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