The Astoria Riverfront Trolley, struggling to find volunteers, suspended operations on Aug. 29.
“It’s a very tough decision,” said Frank Kemp, the trolley’s maintenance coordinator.
Operators cited a shortage of volunteers, who expressed concern for their health amid the rapid spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus, as the primary reason.
The trolley, one of Astoria’s most popular attractions, resumed in July after a 16-month hiatus.
Bob Miller, an operator, said the suspension is especially painful for those who worked so hard to get Old 300 back up and running.
“This hurts. We were having so much fun out there,” Miller said.
Even before the delta variant’s spread, however, Miller said the trolley had difficulty finding as many volunteers as before the pandemic.
“The numbers are what they are. We’re looking at hospitalizations and things with the delta variant and suddenly there’s concern,” he said. “We’re looking out for our people and we’re looking out for our passengers.”
The trolley typically ends seasonal service in mid-September, so operators are not optimistic service will return in 2021.
“If things get better, we’ll be back,” Miller said. “But I don’t have a lot of faith in that.”