Blue Water Area Transit introduced a new historic trolley this summer. It is the agency’s 35th season of providing historic trolley tours. Recognized as one of Michigan’s best tourist values, BWAT’s one-hour trolley tour features over 50 local points of interest. Passengers pay a ten-cent fare, which is the same as the first transit passengers paid in 1866.
BWAT’s new aquamarine trolley runs on eco-friendly compressed natural gas. It is also fully accessible for elderly and disabled passengers. It was designed and manufactured by Home Town Trolley Company of Crandon, Wisconsin.
The trolley tour swings by museums, churches, beaches, the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse, and other historic landmarks. It travels through the heart of Port Huron and along the riverfront for a panoramic view of the Blue Water Bridges and the Thomas Edison statue and train depot.
Trolley tours run throughout the summer from noon to 5 pm, Monday through Saturday, until September 7. Autumn tours are on Saturdays and will continue from September 9 until October 12.
BWAT started offering trolley tours in 1984 on a trial basis with a leased trolley. The next year, the agency formalized the program by purchasing a red trolley from Boyertown of Boyertown, Pennsylvania.
“Our trolley tour offers an overview of local history aboard an old-time trolley vehicle for only ten cents,” said BWAT general manager Jim Wilson. “It really is a great bargain!”
The new trolley was purchased with a federal CMAQ grant. The federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program supports projects that contribute air quality improvements and/or provide traffic congestion relief. The Federal Highway Administration funds 80% of CMAQ funds. The Michigan Department of Transportation contributes a 20% local match.
The trolley tour’s ten-cent fare is made possible by a group of local sponsors.
“Although the trolley tour is designed for tourists, it’s also very popular among those of us who live in the Blue Water Area,” said Linda Bruckner, Blue Water Area Transportation Commission Board chair and Fort Gratiot Township trustee. “This impressive new gift to the area offers a fun, learning experience for the whole family.”
Passengers can get on and off the trolley at 17 points along the route, including hotels and marinas. The tour departs on the hour from BWAT’s downtown transit center.
Discounted five-cent fares are available for senior citizens (60 and up), as well as persons with disability or valid Medicare cards.
For an additional fare, trolley riders may connect with Port Huron’s city-wide transit system that serves local shopping and industrial centers throughout the area.