For the second year in a row, local businesses and the Utah Transit Authority are subsidizing an open-air, summertime trolley service through the downtown area, the University of Utah and other neighborhoods in east-central Salt Lake City.
"Based on last year's success, we're doing it again this year," said Bill Barnes, a UTA spokesman.Barnes said it costs about $60,000 to run the Discovery Trolley from its first service after Memorial Day through Sept. 7. It operates Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with departures from major points every half hour. In 1995, the service was scheduled around 45-minute departures.
Similar service has been tried with limited success in years past, partly because of funding shortfalls and partly because of opposition from companies that sell commercial tours of the city.
But a consortium of hotels and other central business helped solve budget woes, and tour operators agreed not to fight the service as long as it did not compete directly with guided tours.
"These trolleys will not have guides," Barnes said.
The vehicles, which actually are compact buses designed to look like old-fashioned trolleys, stop at a number of popular locales: the U.'s Museum of Natural History and Museum of Fine Arts; Hogle Zoo; Deseret Village at This Is the Place State Park; Trolley Square shopping center; Red Butte Garden; Tracy Aviary; downtown malls and hotels; and Temple Square.
The trolleys run a continuous 16-mile loop separate from the short route the Pioneer Trolley traces around Temple Square. Adult fares are $3, children and senior citizens are half-price, and all-day family passes are $10.
Barnes said the service needs to attract about 200 riders a day to break even. Tickets are available at the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau, UTA outlets and the ZCMI Center customer service desk.