FLINT — Getting around downtown Flint is about to get easier.
The Downtown Flint Trolley began operating last week, offering free rides to visitors, college students and residents to get in and around downtown.
The trolley — a 27-passenger, handicap accessible, environmentally friendly vehicle – will operate Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays to shuttle shoppers and restaurant-goers through downtown, to local colleges and other stops.
Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc., provided funding to purchase the trolley, which is owned and operated by the Flint Downtown Development Authority, Kettering University and the University of Michigan-Flint.
“I am so proud of downtown Flint and all it has to offer. We want to make it easier for residents and visitors to see it all,” said Phil Hagerman, Diplomat chairman and CEO. “Our thriving downtown needs a dedicated public transit system. The Downtown Flint Trolley fills that need in a unique and fun way.”
Hitch a ride on the Trolley at any one of at least seven stops in downtown Flint. Look for the Downtown Flint Trolley signs for pickup locations. Expect to see the Trolley about every 30 minutes at each of the pickup and drop-off locations.
The trolley can be used for a quick ride from one end of Saginaw Street to the other, to access additional parking, or for a quick sight-seeing tour around town. It will serve the growing number of college students, downtown residents and those enjoying any of the major downtown events.
“With the growing nightlife and number of events downtown, this trolley will make getting around and enjoying downtown Flint even easier,” said Gerard Burnash, executive director of the Flint Downtown Development Authority.
Trolleys once were commonplace on Flint streets. The electric light rail cars first operated in Flint in 1903 and operated until April 4, 1956, when they were replaced by diesel powered coaches, according to “Remembering Flint, Michigan: Stories from the Vehicle City” by Gary Flinn.
“This is the dream come true and the culmination of two years of effort. The trolley is a fun addition to all the other things happening downtown,” said Kathleen Gazall, a downtown Flint resident and volunteer. “The Downtown Flint Trolley will make it fast and easy for me — college students and all our visitors — to get from place to place and enjoy all downtown has to offer.”
The trolley’s hours and route will be adjusted based on rider needs. Initially, the Downtown Flint Trolley route will include multiple stops along Saginaw Street including City Hall and Soggy Bottom Bar, the Farmers’ Market, Tenacity Brewing, Kettering University and University of Michigan-Flint and operate 4 p.m. to midnight Thursdays, 4 p.m. to midnight Fridays and 11 a.m. to midnight Saturdays.
“The MTA is proud to be a part of the resurgence of Flint and the Trolley will be a great asset to Flint’s residents,” said Ed Benning, general manager of MTA.
For more information and updates on the Downtown Flint Trolley, go to www.flinttown.com.