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Aldergrove trolley service suspended

Aldergrove Trolley Company driver Graham Norris delivered the local transit system
Aldergrove Trolley Company driver Graham Norris delivered the local transit system's first passengers on Saturday morning, June 1. The day offered free introductory rides on the system's south and north routes.
— image credit: KURT LANGMANN PHOTO

The Aldergrove Trolley Company suspended service to this community on Monday, August 26.

"We're not giving up, we will revive it once we have a stronger plan and improved finances in place," said Lynne Vanlaarhoven, spokesperson for the trolley company's board of directors.

The trolley service in this community had been operating for the past three months, offering both a south route and a north route from downtown Aldergrove.

Vanlaarhoven said the south route, to Zero Avenue and back to Aldergrove, never really caught on. There were five trips daily, Monday to Friday, and the grand total of riders rarely exceeded 20 per day.

On the other hand, the north route to Gloucester Industrial Estates and back to Aldergrove, had seen steady and consistent growth in ridership. There were eight trips daily, four in the early morning and four in the evening, to accommodate shift workers at Gloucester.

"There were definitely way more people using the north route, and many people were getting jobs there because of the trolley service," said Vanlaarhoven. "In the last couple of weeks we were getting 100 riders a day on the north route, while the south route was very low ridership, no way close to paying for that service.

"It's the saddest thing to have to suspend the service but the board will be seeking income from grants and the community to bring it back as soon as possible. However, we will probably be reducing our scope to just the north service to Gloucester," said Vanlaarhoven.

While the seven directors on the trolley company's board are all volunteers, the two trolley drivers are paid staff. There are also the costs of leasing and fueling the trolley, provided by Vancouver Trolley. Vanlaarhoven noted that "Vancouver Trolley has been outstanding in its support of the Aldergrove Trolley effort."

Aldergrove Trolley Company had also hoped for more charter bookings on the weekends, for such events as weddings and farm tours, but there has not been much interest.

"We need more commitment of financial support from the community — we knew that ridership alone would not pay for the service, to start out with, at least — but we also need more ridership," said Vanlaarhoven.

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