Schedule change helps tourists get around town |

Schedule change helps tourists get around town

Gregory Crofton, Tahoe Daily Tribune

The Nifty 50 Trolley, a service that shuttles about 65,000 people around South Shore each summer, will split its route in two this season to better serve riders.

“I believe the route was too complicated for passengers,” said Dick Powers, executive director of the South Shore Transportation Management Association. “And it was taking too long for them to get where they wanted to go. I think that hurt us in terms of ridership — that is what this is about.”

The single route in use last summer meant trolley pickups every hour, but it also meant some riders got stuck on a much longer trip than they wanted or anticipated.

The route this summer will revert to what it was in 2001 — one route from Zephyr Cove to Ski Run Boulevard and another from Stateline to the “Y” then on to Camp Richardson Resort.

The trolley service also plans to decrease its operation by an hour each day because of increased costs. The trolley service will stop at 9 p.m. instead of 10 p.m., a time when ridership is low, Powers said.

Trolleys start rolling June 20 and will run seven days a week until Sept. 7. The service this year has an estimated budget of $211,000. It is funded by a mix of private and public money. Nearly $90,000 comes from public agencies such the Tahoe Transportation District and El Dorado and Douglas counties.

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Trolley drivers relate South Shore history by microphone during each ride, which typically attracts a crowd that’s about 90 percent tourists. The $3-a-day fare allows an unlimited number of trips.

One trolley, which is not used for either of the two main routes, will run all day from Camp Richardson Resort to Emerald Bay. People at Emerald Bay, for another $3, can catch a Tahoe Trolley. It is a service operated by Tahoe Truckee Transportation District and can take passengers as far as Incline Village depending on the time of day.

n The Nifty 50 Trolley got its name through a contest. In 1994, as part of a promotional kickoff, the South Shore Transportation Management Association asked residents to submit names for the trolley. The winning name was chosen because it was catchy and its path is mainly Highway 50.

n Two vehicles that run on compressed natural gas are on order for the Nifty 50 Trolley service. Each costs about $250,000 and produces less harmful emissions than engines that burn gasoline or diesel. The trolleys are expected to be delivered this fall. A state rural transit grant will pay for the vehicles, which will replace two of the five existing trolleys.

— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at