The Cambria Otter Trolley will be back for the summer starting Saturday, May 26, offering free rides from about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays through Mondays. The route extends from Moonstone Beach and Shamel Park through West and East villages.
The free service is to be available through Labor Day, according to Aimee Wyatt of Regional Transit Authority.It’s a trade-off, Supervisor Bruce Gibson told the North Coast Advisory Council Wednesday, May 16. Gibson said that RTA found some trolley funding by canceling two Sunday runs of the North Coast Route 12 route from San Simeon to Morro Bay, leaving 33 trips per week along the North Coast.
However, Gibson and Wyatt said ridership had been low on those two Sunday trips.
Another $13,000 in trolley funding came from the Cambria Tourism Board, according to the board’s April minutes. County supervisors must approve that allocation. Mary Ann Carson, executive director of the Cambria Chamber of Commerce helped facilitate the grant application and the paperwork to RTA.
The grant also pays toward trolley-side ads, new signs and brochures, Carson said. “The Chamber is thrilled that the trolley is coming back. We consider it a charming activity for our tourists, not to mention that it gets people around town without them having to park and repark” their vehicles.
The trolley route won’t be as long as it was for previous summer schedules through 2010, but the perky vehicle will serve the stops that were busiest in the past, Carson said. “And it will be a 30-minute turnaround, better than the hour it was before.”
“The trolley will run northbound along Moonstone Beach, serving the beach park and all the motels, then return southbound on Highway 1 to Windsor/Main street and travel locally in both directions between West and East Village,” Wyatt said in a May 17 email. The trolley “will not turn around at the Rodeo Grounds,” as it used to do, but will instead “serve a new stop near the Creekside Motel (going eastbound) and the Community Health Center (going westbound, (same as before).” The southernmost turnaround likely will be at Leffingwell High School.
Free bus rides for students
RTA also is providing free summertime rides for all students in kindergarten through 12th grade. No passes are required for the June 1 through Aug. 31 program, but student IDs are. The promotion includes free rides on fixed routes for RTA, South County Area Transit, SLO Transit, Atascadero Transit and Morro Bay Transit buses. It does not include the Morro Bay trolley, dial-a-ride, Runabout or a few other services.
For trolley details go to http://slorta/org/cambria. For RTA details, go to www.rideshare.org/transit/YouthRideFree.aspx or www.TakeTransit.org.