“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.
There 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.
One 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?
The 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. The 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.