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Nifty "50" Trolley riders

By golly, transportation officials are expecting a great season for the Nifty “50” Trolley.

“I think we’re gong to have a good year,” said Dick Powers, executive director of the South Shore Transportation Management Association. “I’m expecting ridership to exceed 80,000. It’s anyone’s guess by how much.”

The Nifty “50” Trolley season starts Friday and ends Sept. 12.



The trolley program started in 1994, and since its inception ridership has grown from 21,432 to 76,170. Last year it consisted of two trolley routes and another vehicle.

The “A” route consisted of trolleys traveling in a loop from Stateline to the “Y” and then to Camp Richardson. The “B” route traveled from Zephyr Cove to Stateline and then to the Heavenly Ski Resort tram. Each route had two trolleys and were timed so a trolley stopped at each location every hour. Another vehicle, a shuttle, traveled from Camp Richardson to Emerald Bay.




Riders will notice some changes this year.

Because the “A” route often filled to capacity in July and August, another trolley will be brought into that route for the two busy months. The rest of the trolleys travel from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., but the extra trolley will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. A trolley should come along to each stop every 40 minutes during those times.

Additionally, the Emerald Bay shuttle’s route will extend to D.L. Bliss State Park. Its hours of operation, formerly from 10:15 a.m. to 7 p.m., will be 9:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Powers said, since the program’s inception, officials have tried to make improvements each year.

“You keep tweaking it to make it more responsive to what people are looking for. From the very beginning, this was to provide transit visitors would use” Powers said. “From the standpoint at TMA, we appreciate the business and public support. We have something here that, I think, puts a smile on everyone’s face.”

Other changes include:

– Previously, the cost was $2 a day with a $1 charge for each time riders changed routes. The Emerald Bay shuttle was $2 a day.

This season the charge will be $3 a day for use of the whole system. The transfer fees have been eliminated.

– While they had no dress requirements before, drivers this year will be wearing uniforms in a “roaring ’20s look,” Powers said, complete with vests, white bow ties and dark pants.

– Nifty “50” Trolley souvenirs, such as shirts and ball caps, will be available at various locations around town this year.

Year Riders

1994 21,432

1995 49,131

1996 58,812

1997 72,302

1998 76,170


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