LONG BEACH — Pacific Transit System recently took delivery of its newest vehicle, a 2011 Hometown Trolley Carriage that most recently worked in Camarillo, Calif., before a stop in Las Vegas for refurbishing.
Transit bought the 19-passenger trolley, along with a different model from the city of Long Beach, to help visitors get around the Peninsula during the summer months.
“Years ago, Pacific Transit had a trolley, and it ran primarily throughout the system, but due to its age and cost of refurbishing, it was eventually put out for auction,” said Michael Wagner, director of Pacific Transit. “We intend to keep the trolley system working for a long time now.”
Transit targets the Saturday before Memorial Day to begin service. During the summer months, it will operate Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
“We are looking to move back to Sundays in the future, but drivers and schedules will have to be increased, and it takes time,” he added. “Drivers are at a premium now, and we do not have the driver pool necessary for expanded service.”
Wagner started work at Transit on Feb. 1, taking over for Richard Evans, who retired in 2020.
Plans made for trolleys
One of the trolleys will circulate among Long Beach hotels and take visitors to the local beach approaches, traveling from Ilwaco to The Breakers. The exact schedule will be worked out in the next few weeks.
Wagner and his staff are working to use the other trolley as a historic tour bus to take visitors to museums and hot spots from Ilwaco to Oysterville. There are still some hurdles to clear, so they will not have a starting date for a few weeks.
The trolley from the City of Long Beach is a 1997 Barth P-30. The city voted to sell the bus to Transit for $1 on April 5.
Mayor Jerry Phillips said Transit is the perfect fit to operate the trolley.
“We bought it a few years back for events in the city of Long Beach, but we haven’t utilized it as much as we wanted,” he said.
Phillips said the wrap on the bus, designed by Ilwaco artist Don Nisbett, highlights the area’s attractions.
‘Missing link’ filled
Andi Day, executive director of Visit Long Beach Peninsula, is excited about the prospects of this type of transportation on the Peninsula, especially as it concerns small group meetings and events. Without a convention center connected to lodging on the Peninsula, being able to move participants around from hotels to other venues is critical.
“This is the missing link we’ve needed for so long,” she said.
The new service comes at a great time, with tourism on the Peninsula continuing to increase despite the pandemic.
“It’s going to be extremely busy this summer,” Day said, adding that the trolleys should help ease traffic issues, especially in the hectic downtown Long Beach corridor.
Wagner knows used vehicles carry some risk, but the Vegas Company has a good reputation.
“Las Vegas Bus Sales is a premium West Coast sales organization with hundreds of buses, and I have worked with them before,” he said. “This trolley has relatively low miles on it and is a standard gasoline engine; our mechanics take pride in their work and will have no problem working on this vehicle, as they regularly work on much larger buses.”
Look for the trolleys to hit the road in the next few months for driver training. “You may see it in specific locations as we check for safety and show it to the north-end community, “Wagner said. “but no rides before the 29th of May.”
He’s looking forward to the trolleys adding to the Peninsula’s beachy charm.
“Our commitment is to build on its notoriety and have it be something that everyone looks forward to riding during the summer months.”