A holiday trolley could turn into a permanent bus route in Somerset if there’s enough demand for the service.
The pilot project is trolley service through downtown Somerset and to the major shopping centers along highways 27 and 80 during the Christmas season. But city leaders and the trolley company, Rural Transit Enterprises Coordinated, or RTEC, are seeing a possible long-term future for the service.
RTEC does provide service by request when people call and have to go to a doctor’s appointment or even shopping, but there’s no scheduled public transportation system.
Somerset Communications Director John Alexander said this could the right time to offer public transit in the city.
“I believe it is a service that a lot of our citizens can use, especially a lot of our citizens in underserved areas of the community that don’t have transportation, that don’t have cars of their own. We have a lot of pedestrian traffic in downtown Somerset, as well, that might be able to use this service.”
A regular bus route would also serve Somerset’s senior citizens, especially those who are no longer able to drive.
Alexander said a regular bus service would also be good for area businesses.
“Just from the added aspect of from an economic standpoint, if we provide transportation to some of these local shopping areas, some of these local shopping centers, then that alone would add commerce to the area of folks that might not normally have been able to get to those locations.”
The transit company will analyze the need for a permanent service based on ridership and an online survey. The holiday trolley began Oct. 23 and will continue through Jan. 12.