The Alexandria City Council approved $188,000 Tuesday to be used toward enhancement of trolley service on King Street.
Beginning July 11, trolley headways will improve from 20 minutes to 15 minutes. The funding comes from the percentage of the personal property tax set aside by Council to use toward transportation projects as part of the fiscal year 2012 budget.
“This is a good use of a relatively small amount of money,” Vice Mayor Kerry Donley said.
According to a city memo, “the 15-minute headways will make the trolley a frequent and more reliable alternative to private automobiles.” The city’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services projects ridership to increase 15 to 20 percent with the improved headways, giving the trolley an estimated more than half a million riders per year.
Martz, the current trolley contractor, will have four trolleys in service by July 11. It currently has just three. In January 2012, the city will receive five diesel-electric trolleys through federal money. Alexandria Transit Corporation is expected to become the new operator.
The trolley currently runs from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. The service hours will not be extended with the enhancements, but city staff will study ridership this summer to determine the need and feasibility of extending service hours.
As part of the money set aside for transportation projects, $700,000 has been allocated to the trolley in fiscal year 2012. The city will look into the creation of a new trolley service into Del Ray and potentially the Carlyle area.
Donley said it was important to “connect the business centers” of Old Town and Del Ray. He hinted at the potential of the trolley linking up with Braddock Road Metro station as well.
This fall, city staff will begin talking with communities about implementing a plan. According to the city memo, the trolley service into Del Ray could begin as early as spring 2012. The city will have the option of purchasing the four trolleys from Martz to extend service into Del Ray.
The measure passed 6-1, with Councilwoman Alicia Hughes casting the lone dissenting vote.