While not for lack of effort, the latest word from MATA is that the trolleys will not be back anytime soon. In the meantime, we're calling for the downtown community to rally together and let MATA know just how much we miss the trolleys - whether through yellow ribbons, waves to trolley drivers, or making every Friday Trolley Night by doing something special.
At a recent Trolley Coalition meeting we saw the dedication of MATA staff members. They spent time explaining the meticulous attention to detail, new federal guidelines and extensive training required to return steel-wheeled trolleys to the tracks. The conversation about “truck systems,” “propulsion systems” and “ACS/OrbCAD testing” was a bit overwhelming, but bottom line: It is a daunting process.
MATA also expressed appreciation for the support of the Trolley Coalition and the Downtown community. MATA no longer is a target but a part of the team.
That said, there will be no steel-wheeled trolleys by Memphis in May. Two trolleys are undergoing all those things required to get them into service. There is city and federal funding for five more. A timeline for the debut of the steel-wheeled trolleys is being developed.
We all miss our beloved trolleys and some businesses are suffering due to the decrease in the trolley traffic. As a symbol of that absence let’s make each Friday a special day and let MATA and our trolley drivers know how much we miss them.
There is no better way to express our support of the trolleys than to display yellow ribbons. Businesses can get together and adopt a trolley stop in their area and adorn it with yellow ribbons. This display will be a visible reminder to MATA that we NEED our trolleys.
It has also been said that it is good luck to wave to trolley drivers so Fridays would be a great day to show your appreciation and give the drivers you see a wave, a smile or even a hug. Who knows, it may bring you good luck, or it may even bring back our trolleys!
A couple of other trolley updates:
- You now can find your trolley (or bus) on an app called Transloc.
- New signage and brochures will be at the trolley stops by Memphis in May.
- MATA is working on training trolley drivers to be Downtown ambassadors, communicating information about historic sites and new developments. In addition, the GPS system in the trolleys can be tied to an audio system. For example, if your trolley is on the corner of South Main and G.E. Patterson, you could be told that this is the most popular filming location in Memphis. Magic. The script could be changed regularly.
- The Trolley Coalition toured the Trolley Barn on Feb. 25 to get an up-close look at the repairs and meet the staff.