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Dreading tourist traffic this summer? Hilton Head is getting a trolley service to help

Where will Hilton Head's new trolley service take you? Here's the proposed route

Hilton Head Island is about to get a summertime trolley bus route to help relieve road congestion during tourist season. Here's the proposed route of the trolley.
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Hilton Head Island is about to get a summertime trolley bus route to help relieve road congestion during tourist season. Here's the proposed route of the trolley.

In an effort to cut down on heavy tourist traffic on Hilton Head’s south end, a trolley service will begin running from mid-island to the Coligny area this summer.

Although a firm date has not yet been set, mid-July is the anticipated start of the service, which will run from Shelter Cove to Coligny Beach, a draft route shows.

“Recognizing the need to reduce the number of cars on the road, especially during tourist season, Town Council agreed to partner with Palmetto Breeze to fund an urban service,” said Anne Cyran, senior planner for the town. “The immediate vision is going to be a trolley that runs during tourist season through the main commercial areas on the island.”

Trolley routes are expected to expand each year.

In 2018, the southbound and northbound trolleys will run from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week until mid-October. Next year, the service will likely run from mid-March to mid-October, Cyran said.

Fare will be $1, but children under a certain height will ride for free. Payment will be accepted with cash or through a smart phone app, Cyran said. The trolleys will carry about 35 people.

Palmetto Breeze, Cyran said, secured federal grants to buy equipment and make upgrades to their facilities. The town allocated $109,153 over the last two fiscal year’s to help fund the trolley service, according John Troyer, the town's director of finance.

No further approval from Town Council is needed for the service to begin, Cyran said.

Three trolleys are being manufactured for the town, although a color scheme is not yet decided.

The trolleys will have wooden benches inside, there will be a bike rack in the front, WiFi service and a GPS to allow riders to track where the bus is through an app.

According to a draft of the 2018 route, stops will be made by Belk and the King Neptune statue at Shelter Cove; Park Plaza on Office Park Road; the intersection of Deallyon Avenue and Cordilllo Parkway; the intersection of Deallyon Avenue and South Forest Beach Drive; and at the Coligny Beach circle.

Cyran said there is money available in the grants Palmetto Breeze acquired to build shelters at trolley stops. However, she said before any are built, there is a need to analyze where the best locations are.

Hilton Head Town Council has long partnered with Palmetto Breeze to provide a rural service primarily for workers to come to the island, Cyran said.

Alex Kincaid: 843-706-8123, @alexkincaid22
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