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South Cape Trolley could get extended trial run

By Staff | Jun 4, 2009

Riders of the trolleys that run through southeast Cape Coral on weekends may have a ticket to ride a little longer.
Cape Coral Community Redevelopment Agency boardmembers may vote to extend the trolleys’ trial period — set to end July 18 — for one month when they meet to discuss the matter June 16.
The CRA approved about $73,000 for a 12-week trial period in April for two trolleys to run a route along Southeast 47th Terrace and Lafayette Street, with stops at the Cape Coral Yacht Club during certain hours.
During the first six weeks of the trial run, the trolleys have carried 1,875 passengers. The trolleys run from 10 a.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays, for an average of 5.58 riders per hour.
CRA executive director John Jacobsen said the numbers are exceeding his expectations.
“If it’s this successful in the worst economic conditions in the worst part of season, we think it’ll have real success during season,” he said.
The extra month will give the CRA a larger sample size to determine if the trolleys can make a permanent stay in the Cape, and what changes to make to the route and operating hours.
CRA Boardmember Lou Simmons, the driving force behind getting the trolleys, said the trolleys have garnered support from citizens and businesses along the route.
“Everyone says they want to keep it running,” he said.
At least one business owner is thankful for the trolleys during the “off” season in the Cape, when there are not as many snowbirds in the city.
“There’s a couple of us trying to bring life into the city and the trolley is a good thing,” said Renee Bobko, owner of Mardi Gras.
“We just need more events to see the value of it,” she added.
Bobko would like the trolley to extend its route outside of the CRA boundaries.
State rules governing CRAs preclude boardmembers from spending money outside of their district, but Jacobsen said nearby neighborhoods who would like to see the trolley serve their area could pay for the service.
CRA boardmembers will take up the issue during their June 16 meeting at 5:30 p.m. at 1231 Cape Coral Parkway.