At a cost of $1,000 a day to the city, Jolly Trolley has proposed a fixed-route shuttle service for Rehoboth Beach.
During a commissioner workshop Jan. 6, Jolly Trolley Operations Manager Lydia Hastings said as proposed, the operation would run daily, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., from Memorial Day to Labor Day. She said open-air trolleys would run every 30 minutes.
This is the second year in a row Jolly Trolley has submitted this proposal to the city. As she did last year, Hastings said the proposed shuttle promotes walkability, connects neighborhoods and reduces traffic for Rehoboth Beach.
“People will ride the trolley,” she said.
Hastings said the $1,000-a-day operation – roughly $120,000 for the season – covers paying the driver, gas and insurance. The cost to the passenger would be $1 one way or $3 for all day.
“There’s literally no room for profit,” said Hastings, adding the company and the city could probably negotiate for sharing of ticket sales.
As proposed, the fixed route has 13 stops, beginning at the Bandstand stop the company already has for its Dewey-to-Rehoboth shuttle. The route goes on North First Street, up Surf Avenue to the Deauville Beach parking lot, west on Henlopen Avenue, makes its way to Sussex Street, has a stop at Grove Park, over to Country Club Drive, east to the Silver Lake tot lot, east to King Charles Avenue, and then north back to Rehoboth Avenue.
Mayor Paul Kuhns said for years the city has been trying to get visitors to park outside the city and take buses in, but it’s not happening. This shuttle service would allow people to park farther away, in the cheaper parking spots, and still be able to get downtown or to the beach, he said.
Hastings said Jolly Trolley runs a similar shuttle service in Selbyville, and over half the passengers are on it just for the ride.
Kuhns said he liked the idea of people riding the shuttle on a rainy day for something to do.
“A very cheap way to see the town,” he said.
Commissioners Pat Coluzzi and Lisa Schlosser wondered if federal or state funding would be available to help the city with costs, but Kuhns said at least for the first year, the city should be prepared to be on the hook.
The same day as Hastings’ presentation, commissioners hosted their first budgeting session for Fiscal Year 2020-21, which begins April 1. As of that session, the shuttle service was not funded.