Officials Alter Trolley Route Hoping To Up Ridership

OCEAN CITY – The Ocean
City trolley will be taking a different route from now on, in an effort to
increase ridership on the town’s most recent addition to the transportation

The Maryland Transit
Authority-funded trolley service began just three years ago, with the goal of
increasing downtown travel. The current route runs from the depot on Somerset Street to
the transit hub at the Convention Center. The trolley travels along Baltimore Ave. from

end to end, while other city buses turn off Baltimore Ave. at 15th Street onto Coastal Highway.

The trolley also travels along St.
Louis Ave. where other city buses cannot be found,
with the aim of providing a nostalgic ride through downtown Ocean City.

While the trolley
service has been deemed a success, ridership along the St. Louis Ave. corridor and Baltimore Avenue
route from 15th Street
north has not been popular, reported City Manager
Dennis Dare this week.

“We’re not seeing the
acceptance of ridership on St.
Louis Ave. or on Baltimore Ave. from 15th Street to 33rd,”
said Dare.

While the trolley has
been beneficial during certain times of the year, it is not getting full use
along the two corridors year round.

“The trolley worked very
well during the Air Show and it works very well during the festivals,” said

Dare suggested altering
the route, so as to better target riders.

“With the concurrence of
the MTA, we would like to look at tweaking the actual route, streamline it a
little,” said Public Works Director Hal Adkins.

Adkins also announced
that the town would be receiving grant assistance for the first time through
project New Start. While the town did not receive the grant funding for the
trolley project during the first two years of the program, they have received a
100 percent operating grant this year, in the amount of $131,000.

Due to the grant, MTA
must be consulted over any route changes, but the minor change will likely not
affect the grant, said Adkins.

Adkins noted that the
intention is to not abandon the route completely, as it will still focus on
traveling from Somerset Street
to the Convention Center hub, with the possibility of going further to 65th Street.

The council voted
unanimously to approve the potential route change.