New trolley service in works for North Pinellas County

By Kristy Wolski, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A new trolley service called the Jolley Trolley is being considered for North Pinellas County.

The service would have stops in downtown Clearwater and Clearwater Beach. The Jolley Trolley would also run to Dunedin's downtown and through Tarpon Springs to the sponge docks.

It's a project Dunedin City Commissioner Julie Ward Bujalski has been pushing for several years.

"All of our businesses have been suffering during a bad economic time," Bujalski said. "And we're hoping this will bring somewhere upwards of 15,000 people into the downtown area over the course of the year."

John Wright and his family were visiting Tarpon Springs from Atlanta. He said he would have loved to take them on a trolley.

"Where I grew up we had a trolley system," said Wright. "And it's very well used. It saves a lot of traffic on the roads and reduces congestion and parking problems."

The Jolley Trolley service will come with a price tag of approximately $250,000. Bujalski said splitting the cost among cities will make it affordable.

If both cities approve, Dunedin and Tarpon Springs would each pitch in $43,710. The Clearwater Downtown Development Board will pay $16,000. Pinellas Suncoast Transit will pay the rest.

"I think our residents have really really wanted us to be different in government," Bujalski said. "And in a bad economic time I think it's good to pool your money and pool your resources."

If approved, the trolley is expected to be running by November, in time for the holiday shopping season. The trolley would run Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

PSTA is expected to approve and allocate the funds on September 22. Dunedin City Commission will deliberate the issue on September 23. Tarpon Springs Commissioners will discuss on September 28.

Dunedin leaders say there's already potential for expanding the route in the future for Honeymoon Island and the Palm Harbor business district.