My Ride on the Open Air Trolley


“Clang, clang, clang, went the trolley
Ding, ding, ding, went the bell
Zing, zing, zing, went my heartstrings
As we started for THE CITY OF LONG BEACH”

I saw it coming down the street. It was fifteen minutes early, but I anticipated that. I also anticipated it not stopping at the designated stop. With a giant wave and a scream, the driver slowed down and I hopped on. That’s right, yesterday I took the new open air trolley for a joyride around Long Beach. With no destination in mind, I road the full loop and I loved every single second of it.

trolley3There is no denying how quaint this trolley is. Along with wooden benches were leather straps for you strap-hanging fans plus lots of brass to complete the old-fashioned look. The rear row of seats face forward while the others to the sides. The ride was very airy, comfortable and I felt safe.


Don’t pay attention to the posted schedule on the brochure (City of Long Beach Trolley Schedule & Local Business Guide.) I followed this trolley for much of the day and it definitely runs by its own clock. It also doesn’t automatically stop at the map-marked stops. If you want a lift, you’ll have to wave it down. The full loop is supposed to take one hour. My ride was around 50 minutes. Of course, everyday will be different.

Riding on Beech Street through the West End was a bit of a blast. I felt like a tourist when passing establishments such as Shines, Minnesota’s & Swingbellys with their patrons pointing, smiling, waving, laughing.

trolley4One thing that struck me as kinda odd was that it doesn’t stop directly in front of the LIRR station. This trolley is primed to pick up the ‘bridge & train crowd” (NYC folks); Didn’t Newsday just say 14,000 come to Long Beach on a typical hot summer weekend day? Let’s bring these ‘bridge & train’ folks to our local businesses and get them spend all of their money here! Unless there is a reason why it can’t stop at the station. Anybody care the chime in?

trolley5The trolley also doesn’t stop at the Rec center, which I always figured to be an important part of our city. Perhaps that’s not the point of this trolley, as it does hit almost all the beach entrances and downtowns. Of course, we always have our normal bus system for those other stops.

Another minor note is that the trolley doesn’t seem to run that late. If you’re taking it out for dinner or drinks, chances are you’ll have to find another way home. That is, unless you enjoy senior specials or like to go out early. Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 10.04.21 AMThe city provides a map with all the stops and a local business guide. Each stop has a number assigned to it. You can view all this online at the official City of Long Beach website: City of Long Beach Trolley Schedule & Local Business Guide.

Bravo, Long Beach! Minor kinks aside, If this trolley takes off, it’s going to be great for our local businesses. Also for us residents as well. Being that I’m in the east, I’ll definitely take this trolley for a ride to the west when I don’t feel like dealing with parking. I really enjoyed the ride and loved being carried around Long Beach while feeling the fresh air and sun. All you debbie-downers can say what you want, but I am an open air trolley convert.

Seriously, if you haven’t tried it yet, you should. Just remember: if you want a ride, make sure the driver see you. Waving it down is part of the charm, after all. The base fare is $2  and $1 for persons with disabilities, seniors & students; children under 5 ride for free! Wanna go for a ride? Get all your info here: City of Long Beach Trolley Schedule & Local Business Guide.


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28 thoughts on “My Ride on the Open Air Trolley”

  1. As usual it’s a great idea run amateurishly. Why not run on time according to the published schedule? Why not stop at the LIRR station? Why not run late?
    Why? because TILB, that’s why.
    I see this wonderful trolley a lot and it’s generally empty, just like the regular buses are .
    On Sunday my visiting brother in law and I had to go to the city and decided not to take the bus to the LIRR station because we were likely to miss the departure of the train which had happened to each of us before.
    So we drove in my car and parked nearby when both of us would have preferred taking the bus.
    Are we alone in being forced to drive to the station? Would bus use increase if there was some, even a little, semblance of order and organization?
    And what about The Shoppers Special? A mystery to most. Where does it go? When does it go? How does one find out? The buses are a waste of a good resource that also probably lose money.

  2. I agree with Beachguy that this is a great idea if done right which if you have to waive it down (not charming) and it’s not running on time, this is not done right. And, don’t worry, I’m sure it’s being paid for by some subsidy or federal grant… which COLB likes to call “FREE”.

    Looks nice though. I’d enjoy riding it. They should serve drinks at night.

  3. Cool!

    I’m cynical and would put $ on the trolley not going to the LORD due to some cab company cronyism – 4 people to the west end on a trolley? $8.00. On a cab? $20.

  4. I can’t wait to try this trolley out too – I wish it ran longer than Labor Day. Could be a great boost through the Fall for our local businesses. Most residents “beach it” on the weekends in the summer. But extending it though October, could really drive some “Shop Local” traffic from East to West. I for one would take it with my family to lunch and/or dinner in the West End. Great article Anthony!

  5. I’ve heard people say that the bus schedule remains the way it is due to pressure from the taxis who would
    lose a lot of business if there was coordination with the LIRR. The bus is actually faster to Nevada Ave than a full taxi if youre the last passenger out of four.

  6. I think most of the buses bought get “clean air” subsidies, etc. According to the Herald “…The city paid for the bus with $126,652 in funding through a New York State Department of Transportation grant and $103,308 in funding through the city’s Urban Development Grant Fund.” Yup, “free.”

  7. The City’s had an enclosed “antique trolley” for years. It’s rarely used, mostly for the mysterious “Shoppers Special” route and an occasional parade.

  8. There are closed trolleys as well. This is a Economic Development boost to the City. It isn’t meant for commuters but for locals and visitors to “tour”. It’s seasonal as well.

  9. Great blog! Points out how wonderful something could be if it was actually implemented correctly. It’s tragic to see that thing empty while hoards of citiots get right back on the train and never visit more than Five Guys.

  10. Sorry to see the City made you take down your story of this morning’s interview with Jack. Tough being owned by the Democrats, isn’t it?

    Was better when you were your own man, wasn’t it?

  11. John, suck the Democrats’ cheeks enough and maybe they’ll give you a $70K building inspector job, right? I don’t need that. It’s pitiful that you do. Keep sucking and I’ll continue to speak the truth.

  12. Jodi, many people on this block were hoping that after the Patch fell apart that the toxic partisan political stuff would not migrate here. SBTC has been a place where people that may not agree with each other can actually still have a civil discussion on the issues. Unfortunately, to date, you seem to want to go for the shock value. How about this, try having a civil discussion with the people on here. Engage and tell them your point of view in a concise manner. Try to back up your positions with facts. You may find it quite rewarding to convince someone about why your position is the right one.

    The other option is maybe you should start your own blog, where likeminded people can gather with you to share thoughts and theories.

  13. Thanks Neutron. Please keep the conversations civil and engaging. I refuse to allow SBTC to turn into what the Patch was. Don’t forget that we are all neighbors, so be friendly.

  14. @ neutron- well said. This is NOT Newsday beholding to the Democrats or the Post speaking for their rich owners. It’s just a blog written by a guy. He always made it clear that it was his right to monitor what was published on his own local blog. I think he’s actually shown a lot of leeway for trolls like Jodi, since he could just not post the comment at all. Unlike Patch or a Bar Fight, this blog is moderated by the guy who keeps it up. All the screaming and cursing on Patch accomplished ZERO good for our area. I know Anthony allows opposing views, but I hope he limits rants. One background fact: Long Beach has been run by Democrats for 100 years. Got to play with the cards you’re dealt. Now, can we get back to the Trolley?

  15. The bus is most definitely faster than a taxi that makes up to 4 other stops along the way and still charges full fare.

    If there s any truth to the taxi pressure = no bus schedule change then I will seriously take a shit on the steps of city hall.

  16. Jodi – Neutron put it well, so I’ll not expound much except to say that if you bothered to read through posts on this blog and elsewhere, you’d know that i’m as critical of this administration as anyone. that said, i’m also not blinded by partisan hackery. i give them credit where due and criticism when necessary.

    that you can’t seem to write a post absent personal attacks – much less one that uses facts to back up your assertions – speaks much more (or in this case, less) to you than it does to besmirch me.

    i use my real name on this blog because i want my neighbors to know i’m real and hope that the dialogue that flows from that is the same that would take place where we meeting face to face. i highly doubt you’d have the chutzpa to speak to me in the same way were that the case.

    in the meantime, i’m out here as a neighbor, a taxpayer and a concerned citizen looking to engage my peers in productive dialogue about our city. feel free to research me so you can see why i don’t need (nor want) that cush job with the city. i hope someday that you’ll muster up the nerve and/or morals to drop your pseudonym and engage the rest of the folks on this blog with the respect we deserve.

    until then, I’ll treat you as the troll you appear to relish playing and will no longer engage.


    We were 3 families today waiting for the 2:50 on the corner of neptune and park at a designated stop on the map. there is even a sign for it. We made sure to arrive 20 minutes early at 2:30 for schedule error as we heard it doesnt run on time. When we got there another family told us they have been waiting since 1:45. we all waited til about 3:20 and the trolley never came.

    The schedule clearly says it runs on weekends and holidays all the way to labor day. we read the schedule perfectly. I guess they decided not to run today? unacceptable. today was a perfect day. everyone has off. and its beautiful out. instead we were left in the hot sun waiting and a bunch of crying kids that we have to explain why we are not going on the trolley. we all agree (about 15 of us all residents) that we would rather have no trolley at all than one that we will never take again because there is no way we are subjecting ourselves to that again.

    the city was closed so i called the police and asked if they heard of any issues. none, and the one cop i stopped didnt even know what the trolley was. great.

    i stopped a real bus and asked whats up with the trolley, “oh i dont know if they runnin that today or if it comes down here”. i showed him the map that clearly shows the stops. he was surprised it even came to the east end.

    laughable really how not connected the city is about it.


  18. It might be a good idea for the trolley to extend its calendar time so elementary school students in Long Beach could get a field trip in. I think that lots of students probably have not seen all of Long Beach even though they live in the area. The trolley appears big enough to fit at least one class at a time in the seats. Little children get excited about the simplest things, and going on a trolley is quite simple and fun.

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