17512 Columbia

Take a ride on the trolley

In Everyday Living, Government, History and Heritage, In Columbia, Opinions, Opportunities, Treasures on July 23, 2017 at 2:47 pm

If the nearly 8,000 adults living in Columbia took a ride on the trolley, the borough could knock off $24,000 from the purchase price. And that’s what we decided to do today – take a ride on the trolley for $3.00.

trolley 2

elite-trolleyElite Coach of Ephrata initiated a contact with Kathy Hohenadel at the Susquehanna Chamber of Commerce to let her know that the company had a trolley for sale. Following the call Hohenadel informed the borough’s Community Development committee chairperson about the offer. Several councillors and borough staff made the trip to Ephrata to see, inspect and drive the outfitted trolley (with a 1993 Cummins engine). The trolley is a “classic” with only 53,000 miles. The borough will pay $39,900 for the trolley. – From a Columbia news, views & reviews article in December 2016.

For three bucks we took a full-route ride that lasted about 45 minutes. Columbia Borough lists trolley information at its Website – And Columbia news, views & reviews included that information in a July 12 post.

take the trolley

Columbia Spy, too, included that news item here.

But we cannot find any information about the trolley schedule or rates at the Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce Website. What we were able to find is this apparent out-of-date trolley ride:

2015 trolley trip

We caught the trolley by the Columbia Market House on South Third Street. There’s a “trolley stop” sign just outside the market house’s doors. But because cars were parked in the space designated as a “trolley stop” the trolley driver driver pulled over in a space 20 or so feet beyond the “trolley stop.”trolley stopCitizens and visitors to Columbia can download a phone app that shows where the trolley is at the moment. What’s missing is an estimated time of arrival at the point at which you may want to know.

There was a family, two adults and four children, on the trolley when we boarded. A driver and guide/narrator/docent completed the roster for this ride. The guide/narrator/docent was exceedingly well spoken; the children, for the most part showed little interest listening to the narrative. It was thought, insightful, deliberate and quite well-presented.

At the Chamber of Commerce the family alighted and only the three of us rode the rest of the route.

The interior of the trolley is quite nice – beautiful wood, brass and leather adorn the area where people sit.

trolley interior

The trolley stop at the Turkey Hill Experience has disappointing signage. We get it, the THE was quite crowded today, but there has to be a better way to communicate.the sign 3

 

And what does the trolley’s ridership, revenues and expenses look like? Columbia news, views & reviews asked the Borough and the Chamber of Commerce for that information and here’s what we gleaned from the right-to-know request responses.

june numbers

To download the above graphic as a .pdf for enlarging, sharing and / or printing, click on the graphic or here.

We don’t know how much the “trolley stop” signage cost? Nor fuel costs? Nor the promised “promotion” costs?
And we received conflicting data about the banner revenues. In one communiqué, the revenue was shown as $1,200; in another, $1,500.

 

  1. I’d really like to see the fuel cost. Operating the trolley 4 days a week has to use a significant amount of fuel. There should be receipts from each time it was filled.

  2. Thank God for that banner!!!!!

  3. only a damn fool would think of this as a break even proposition. Far better if the fair was a quarter. Then people might actually ride it.

    Even better how about it makes a couple of runs down to the Mussers and the dollar store.

    Oh, I almost forgot, if you do that you’d have poor people riding the bus they are paying for. How stupid of me.

  4. Evidently runs by perpetual motion so it’s not subject to those rules.

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