Trolley service resumes in Gig Harbor

Pierce Transit’s summer trolley (Route 101) kicked off service June 1 and is available until Sept. 2.

This 25-passenger trolley makes 42 stops along its route throughout the city, from uptown Gig Harbor all the way to Peacock Hill and Borgen Boulevard.

Rides are 50 cents per trip and free to children 5 and under, seniors and persons with disabilities. One day passes can be purchased for $1. ORCA cards also are valid for payment.

Pierce Transit communications manager Rebecca Japhet said the service would not be possible without a partnership among her agency, the City of Gig Harbor, Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce, Merchants of Uptown and Downtown Waterfront Alliance and recently added Heron’s Key.

“We created this partnership, and we all have a financial stake, so we all put funding in and help in some way,” Japhet said. “It created this great partnership we get excited to renew each year.”

The estimated cost to run the service for the summer is $296,293, Japhet said.

“Our formal partnership is with the City of Gig Harbor for $47,407, and the city coordinates with the other partners,” she said. “Pierce Transit pays the remaining cost of $248,886. The portion that Gig Harbor (and partners) contribute is not to cover the cost of the service per se; it is to ‘buy down’ the fare so that it operates at 50 cents a trip or $1 for an all day pass (vs. the regular $2 adult fare).

“The partnership cost is the difference between the lower fare and what Pierce Transit would expect to collect at the regular adult fare rate.”

This is the seventh year of the service. About 16,000 people rode the trolley in 2018.

“The folks in Gig Harbor were really looking for a way to move people around among these retail centers and the waterfront and give them a way to move easily around the area without using a car or parking,” Japhet said. “Retailers were looking for a way to enhance their businesses by getting more people out and about.”

Pierce Transit conducted a follow-up survey last year on trolley riders and local merchants. From those who responded, 70 percent of the merchants said they felt the trolley had a positive impact on their business.

Trolley riders responded by saying the top trolley uses were sightseeing (59 percent) and shopping/errands (17 percent).

“It’s a super easy way to get around, and it’s a fun experience,” Japhet said.

A few changes have been made this year to enhance the trolley experience. The first is an added trip at the end of the schedule on weekdays.

“There is a concert series on Tuesday nights,” Japhet said. “This year we added one more trip at the end of the schedule on all weekdays, including Tuesday to depart just after the concert so people can get back uptown — it’s a real benefit.”

Another change sees Route 100 staying on the same path as usual rather than making a detour. With redundancy between Route 100 and Route 101, in the past Route 100 made a detour resulting in riders needing to transfer trollies to get to certain areas. This year both services typically will run with no detours.

“So if people are used to riding the 100 all year, they can continue to do that with no change,” Japhet said.

Trolley hours

Weekdays: 11:10 a.m. to 8:40 p.m.

Saturdays: 10:40 a.m. to 9:10 p.m.

Sundays: 12:10 p.m. to 6:40 p.m.