Wilmington Trolley Company Coming To Carolina Beach

Wilmington Trolley Company Coming To Carolina Beach Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 15 April 2015 04:00

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Wilmington Trolley Company would like to bring their charter and tours service to Pleasure Island. The Carolina Beach Town Council gave direction to Town Manager Michael Cramer at their April 14th, meeting to follow existing ordinances to help make that a reality.
Wes Moore presented the idea and proposed plan to the Carolina Beach Town Council at Tuesday night's meeting.
According to a "Business Plan for Pleasure Island Trolley" recently submitted to the Town it states, "The Wilmington Trolley Company has provided charter and tour service in New Hanover County since 1998. We currently operate six trolleys for hire. We also operate daily sightseeing tours of Wilmington, NC. Wilmington Trolley Company is a private locally owned company. Pleasure Island Trolley would provide much needed transportation around Carolina Beach and Kure Beach." The plans states, "Pleasure Island Trolley would provide trolley service and stops around the island. Proposed stops would be at the Boardwalk, Kure Beach Pier, four to five stops along Lake Park Blvd and other points of interest" and, "The PIT would operate seven nights a week from 5:30PM - 10:30PM. The cost to ride will be $2.00 per person (children under 3 years old will be free). The PIT would also generate money from selling advertisement on the side of the trolley." The company is based in Wilmington, NC at 304 Okeechobee Road.
Currently there are multiple taxi services that operate on Pleasure Island as well as public transportation provided by the WAVE Transit system with buses that operate on a regular route schedule connecting to the Monkey Junction area with connections to the rest of New Hanover County. The Wilmington Trolley business plan states, "Pleasure Island Trolley would provide safe, reliable and fun transportation around Carolina and Kure Beach. The trolley will be open air style bus for passengers to enjoy the warm summer climate."
Moore explained, "Some of the things we specialize in right now is, we do a lot of groups and local business with such groups as the Azalea Festival, UNCW, NC State Ports, all of the Battleship marathons as well as other marathons in town. We have contracts with the convention center, Arlie Concert Series and we do over 300 weddings each  year." He explained, "The basic market would be visitors and locals that just want to get around the Island. We are also hoping to add a stop at Kure Beach as well. We would like to start at the Boardwalk and go up and down Lake Park Blvd all the way to the pier at Kure Beach and then back. Hoping it will take roughly 30 minutes."
He explained, "We've already  done a lot with Pleasure Island... We've been a member of the Chamber for years. We've  provided trolley service for the Chowder Festival and Island Day for the past several years. We also sponsor a Pleasure Island baseball team and have sponsored soccer teams in the past. We've also done transportation for summer recreation programs for the past eight plus years and we provided service at Fort Fisher for the 150th Anniversary this past year." Moore said drivers are professionals with CDL licenses and are drug tested regularly. They currently have 14 part-time drivers.
In the future they plan to expand service to day and night service for the entire Island.
Council member Sarah Friede asked if day time service is planned for the summer. Moore said they are working on the details but will start this summer operating at night. Mayor Dan Wilcox said, "You might want to consider the Food Lion Shopping Center as a stop because people get off their boats or visitors might not have transportation or not want to move their car in traffic."
Moore said they are open to suggestions for additional stops. Wilcox said, "You and I tried to work something out seven or eight years ago and it was in the infancy of the renovations at the Boardwalk and things still were not what they are today. It will be great."
Town Manager Michael Cramer explained the trolley service would fall under the classification of a private bus service. He explained, "We really don't see it as too much of a difficulty. The items that are in the ordinance, they already comply with so there shouldn't be too much of a difficulty in getting this through a review and approval process."
Cramer said the only concern at this point is whether the state will permit signs along Lake Park Blvd (Highway 421) because the North Carolina Department of Transportation must approve signs such as ones marking stops. Friede said, "I think it's a neat idea. I'm not sure how many people will think it's a bargain to ride from one end of the Central Business District to another for $2 but that's something I think the market will work out."
Cramer said, "It is definitely something we can do at staff level. Just need to hear that council is interested in us pursuing it."
Council agreed the service will be a good addition for the Town.


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