Free trolley service returns to downtown Peterborough for summer events

Free trolley-like rides for events are returning to downtown Peterborough this summer.

On Thursday, the Peterborough Downtown Business Improvement Area announced the return of the San Francisco-style trolley rides for events such as this weekend’s Kawartha Craft Beer Festival at Del Crary Park. The trolley will also return each Wednesday and Saturday evening for Peterborough MusicFest concerts at the park from June 29 to Aug. 17.

All stops will occur on the right side of George Street. Trolley pickups will begin at Confederation Square across from city hall and continue at the intersections with Brock, Hunter, Simcoe, Charlotte and King streets from 6 to 10 p.m. The trolley is accessible and can hold 30 people sitting and 15 people standing.

Peterborough Downtown BIA executive director Terry Guiel says the idea is to once again link the downtown bar and restaurant scene with events at Del Crary Park. The trolley service first appeared last summer.

“We want to support Musicfest in a way that also helps our downtown,” Guiel said. “The charm of the trolley, coupled with us offering it as a free service, is a fun and welcoming way for us to get people to enjoy the concerts while exploring our downtown restaurants and retail stores.”

This year, the service will travel to the Memorial Centre parking lot to pick up concertgoers who park at the arena lot. The expansion aims to reduce vehicle congestion and encourage more concert participants and bring more people to the downtown area.

“We’re thrilled to partner with the Peterborough DBIA to bring the trolley back for Season 33 of Peterborough Musicfest,” said Tracey Randall, Musicfest general manager.

“It was a huge hit last summer and adds some extra fun and convenience to our already exciting concert nights.”

According to Peterborough historian Elwood Jones, trolleys on tracks used to run in downtown Peterborough between 1904 and 1928, while a much earlier version of the trolleys operated in the 1890s.

Owner Michael Byrant says the trolley is celebrating its 20th year in operation as a classic and historical vehicle and will celebrate this season with prizes and gifts for riders, including commemorative trolley tickets.

Guiel noted the trolley is not intended as a substitute for Peterborough Transit, and demand will exceed its capacity, especially when the concerts end each night.

Priority will be given to those with mobility issues, seniors and expectant mothers or parents with young children, the Peterborough Downtown BIA said, adding that seating will be based on availability.

The Peterborough Downtown BIA and Musicfest have also partnered with Peterborough Transit to promote riding bicycles to the concerts. Peterborough Transit will be hosting free supervised bike parking at Del Crary Park. Bike lanes from downtown to Del Crary Park can be found on George Street as well as via the Otonabee River Trail.

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