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Aldergrove trolley service begins -- at last

Aldergrove Trolley Company driver Graham Norris delivers the local transit system
Aldergrove Trolley Company driver Graham Norris delivers the local transit system's first passengers on Saturday morning. The day offered free introductory rides on the system's south and north routes.
— image credit: KURT LANGMANN PHOTO

The Aldergrove Trolley Company officially launched its long awaited local transit service on Saturday.

Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony by Mayor Jack Froese — who called the trolley service the result of the work of a "billion dollar neighborhood" — the trolley was boarded by a couple dozen passengers and took its first trip on the south route to the 450-resident Pioneer Park homes on Zero Avenue.

The 1988 diesel trolley offered a comfortable ride on the country roads, agreed the passengers. The seats are plain wooden benches, but there is both a heating and air conditioning system inside the 32-passenger trolley. It also has a wheelchair lift at the back, offering full accessibility for all passengers.

Trolley driver Graham Morris has five years experience operating a trolley in Vancouver and is thrilled to have the job here, closer to his home in the Fraser Valley. He notes that trolleys are not meant for high speed operations, but are perfect for the Aldergrove routes.

"The trolley has real good visibility (for the driver), and the power steering and short wheelbase makes it easy to make sharp turns," says Morris.

The trolley was one of the projects undertaken by participants in the taping of the "Million Dollar Neighbourhood" reality-TV series in Aldergrove last year. Led by Dave Miller, the trolley project has been an arduous undertaking, as it has to meet a number of regulatory requirements and approvals from government and bodies such as TransLink.

Miller says approvals have been received for a number of safe stop locations for passengers to board and disembark, however, the trolley is not yet allowed to stop for passengers who flag it down outside of approved stops. Miller is expecting approval for this aspect, but notes that the trolley driver would still only be able to stop where it is safe to do so.

The south route has seven stops approved so far, and starts and ends near the TrnsLink stop in front of Extra Foods on 272 Street. The approved stops include Aldergrove Arena, Aldergrove Regional Park, Pioneer Park, Otter Co-op, Save-on Foods, Old Yale Road at Fraser Highway and Safeway.

The trolley leaves Extra Foods at 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, 12:30 and 2:30 p.m., and each trip is about an hour long. The round trip costs $3.

Miller says that starting July 1, during summer months the trolley will drive a loop through Aldergrove Regional Park while on the south route.

The north route, serving Gloucester Industrial Estates along 56 Avenue, is still under development but will begin service at 6 a.m. and end at 6 p.m. The cost will be $2.50 each way.

Monthly passes will also be available, at $58 for the south route and $90 for the north route. Information is available by email at info@aldergrovetrolleycompany.ca or their website at www.aldergrovetrolleycompany.ca

Miller says that the trolley's business plan anticipates operating costs to be about $15,000 monthly. For this reason the company will also be seeking charter business for weddings and other special occasions.

Passengers enjoyed their first ride aboard the Aldergrove Trolley on Saturday morning.

Mayor Jack Froese and councillors David Davis, Kim Richter and Bev Dornan gives their thumbs up at the Aldergrove Trolley Company's launch on Saturday morning.

Mayor Jack Froese cut the ribbon at the Aldergrove Trolley Company's launch on Saturday morning.

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