With the Del Ray/Arlandria Trolley project currently in limbo, Alexandria’s bus system may lend a hand to get the service running in some capacity.
Patch revealed last week that the Del Ray/Arlandria Trolley line was in jeopardy after the city failed to receive a bid during a month-long contractor proposal period.
The route, approved by City Council in June, connects King Street Metro to Braddock Road Metro via Commonwealth Avenue and Braddock Road and then moves through Del Ray and into Arlandria before turning around. The motorized trolleys would run Thursday through Sunday primarily in the afternoon and evening hours.
City officials cited the economy and the risk involved for contractors to supply and operate trolleys for potentially only a one-year pilot program as reasons why the city failed to receive a bid.
Rich Baier, the city’s director of Transportation and Environmental Services, said the city might open a new bid period with different criteria.
If that fails, DASH is looking into providing free service to the route on Saturdays and Sundays with shrink-wrapped buses that will look, at least from the outside, like trolleys.
DASH General Manager Sandy Modell said she is currently looking at costs and moving schedules around to accommodate the buses.
“What we’re looking at now is if we can get trolley service through trolley-looking vehicles,” Modell said.
DASH took over operations of the King Street Trolley line in April. Modell said ridership “is up 60 to 70 percent” since DASH took over from a contractor.
The Del Ray Business Association and the Arlandria-Chirilagua Business Association have pushed for the trolley service for some time. Stephanie Pace Brown, former CEO of the Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association, had said the trolley service could be a way to connect visitors in Old Town with eateries to the north.
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