La Vida Local
by Maria Gaura
SANTA CRUZ (June 28, 2011) - Thursday June 30th will mark the official debut of a motorized trolley service intended to lure visitors from their cars, and provide a convenient link between the city's business district and its main tourist destination.
The Santa Cruz Beach Trolley has been shuttling between downtown and the Municipal Wharf for nearly two weeks since a June 16 "soft launch" intended to work out the kinks in the system. Thursday's ribbon-cutting celebration will serve as the public kick-off, complete with free rides.
Tourism officials estimate that three million people visit the Main Beach/Boardwalk area every year. But few out-of-town visitors are aware of Santa Cruz's downtown business district, and fewer still know how to get there.
The Beach Trolley runs from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through Labor Day (September 5th), and on weekends through October 15. The downtown stop is in front of the Del Mar Theater at 1124 Pacific Ave., and the beach area stop is at the foot of the Municipal Wharf, in front of the Ideal Fish Co. The trolley leaves downtown on the hour and half-hour, and departs the beach at fifteen minutes and 45 minutes past the hour. The fare is 25 cents each way, exact change only. The trolley runs on natural gas, and is accessible for handicapped riders.