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City Eyes Fall Start for Regular Trolley Service in Del Ray

Alexandria's Department of Transportation and Environmental Services is looking into increasing the hours of service for the King Street trolley.

Regular trolley service in Del Ray will begin in September or October at the earliest, according to Alexandria’s director of Transportation and Environmental Services.

T&ES chief Rich Baier told Del Ray Patch that despite the city  toward implementing the motorized trolley service in the neighborhood, the process of selecting a contractor and other matters will push the project into the fall.

T&ES Deputy Director Abi Lerner said some of the approximately $510,000 that was allotted for expanding trolley service into Del Ray will be rolled over and combined with new funding in FY2013.

How much that is rolled over remains to be determined.

From the $510,000, about $190,000 will go toward further improving headways on the King Street Trolley.

The remaining $320,000 will be split.

Lerner said T&ES is looking into expanding the hours of the King Street Trolley, which currently runs from 11:30 a.m. to 10:15 p.m. from the King Street Metro station to the Potomac River waterfront.

Whatever money remains after expanding hours of the King Street line will be put in reserve for the trolley in Del Ray.

“The bids can come in higher [than expected],” Lerner said. “This money will be used as a cushion.”

There is a “new trolley pot” of $700,000 available in FY2013, which begins on July 1, 2012. Lerner said this pot, which comes from money the city sets aside for transportation projects, would be devoted to the Del Ray line.

The city will utilize a contractor to operate the Del Ray trolley with eyes on transferring duties to the Alexandria Transit Company at a later date.

will be rolled out in late April on the King Street line. ATC, which also runs the DASH bus service, will take over from Martz as the operator.

“In coordination with Earth Day, we’re going to roll out the new trolleys,” Baier said. “It’s pretty exciting and council is excited about the new trolleys and the expansion.” Earth Day celebrations for the city are scheduled for April 21.

The city is hosting an open house about Del Ray trolley service on March 28 at . The event begins at 6 p.m. and will include a discussion on preferred routing for the trolley, destinations, hours of service, headways and how to link the line with the King Street Trolley.

“What we’re trying to do, we’re trying to provide a link between Old Town and Del Ray and send it back and forth,” Baier said. “It’s also an economic development tool.”

Trolley service in Del Ray will be during the First Thursday street festival.

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Drew Hansen March 06, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Routes are still being determined. The city identified a couple of potential routes at a Del Ray Citizens Association meeting in November: http://patch.com/A-nMM1 Hopefully we can get that WMATA bus question answered at the trolley open house at the end of the month.
Nan Jennings March 06, 2012 at 11:55 AM
Can it actually cost a half million dollars to figure out a route and put out an RFP?
Lee Hernly March 06, 2012 at 12:40 PM
The questions residents should be asking is 'why does the City need a contractor to run the Trolley?' At the City Council meeting in 2009 when the decision to purchase the extra trolleys was made, T & ES staff said there would be offsets from the lack of need to lease vehicles considering that the vendor would likely be DASH. Has this now changed? Why does the City need a contractor at the start of Trolley service?
Rob Krupicka March 06, 2012 at 02:35 PM
The city used Gov stimulus money to buy the new hybrid old town trollies. Those will save us money as it is less expensive to run them ourselves than to lease. But the issue is you need the vehicle to do it. We don't have extra busses to start the Del Ray line, so we have to least first. We are going to test the line before ordering new busses for trolley in Del Ray. And even then, ordering new trolley's can take up to 2 years before they hit the street between the time the budget is approved and they are delivered. I am looking forward to the city running the line. I also know we have a huge backlog of busses to order because the recession has slowed down our bus replacement schedule. Because of budget constraints, we are not keeping up with basic bus replacement as well as we should let alone having funds to expand the service.
Boyd Walker March 08, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Maybe where we add Trolleys, which are more attractive, and free, we should consider a reduction in Dash buses, to offset the cost, and because a free Trolley will surely get more ridership. I would be interested in what people think of this? I live on King St. and don't see the need for a Dash bus right behind a Trolley taking the same route.

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