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Free Trolley Refreshes Downtown Route

By Laura Moore, posted Sep 17, 2021
Officials have tweaked the route of the Port City Trolley to provide access to more downtown Wilmington spots. (photo c/o Wave Transit)
For visitors and locals alike, the free downtown trolley in Wilmington recently refreshed its route, offering access to more desired destinations.
 
As a result, the Port City Trolley is providing riders with the ability to access major destination points along Nutt Street in downtown Wilmington.
 
“It is only a two-block deviation from the original route, but opens up so much more access,” said Brianna D’Itri, mobility manager at Wave Transit.
 
Several downtown destinations are now on the trolley route including the Wilmington Convention Center, Wilmington Railroad Museum, several waterfront hotels, the new Riverfront Park and Live Oak Bank Pavilion.
 
The new route began Sept. 1 to offer better access to some of the riverside attractions.
 
“This route refresh offers the same service frequency and operating hours as before with enhanced access to downtown entertainment, culture and amenities,” D’Itri said.
 
As one of its trolley partners, the Wilmington Convention Center will guide its guests to the Port City Trolley through new overhead signs, dynamic displays and a wall mural designed by Kevin Jones of ARTphics Inc.
 
In partnership with the Wilmington Railroad Museum, patrons get a real-world transportation lesson in reading public transit schedules using the Port City Trolley map. Families with children can look forward to more events at the museum featuring a ride on the trolley.
 
Passengers can board the Port City Trolley at one of the now 25 designated trolley stops and get off at any location along the established route. Other changes include a change in the trolley stop on Red Cross Street from a very elevated stop to a flatter surface to offer better access for those with mobility issues.
 
“It is designed to bring passengers to all the five districts in the greater downtown area, as well as key destinations,” D’Itri said. “With the makeup of downtown Wilmington and its geography, it is unique for visitors as it touches on all these areas. It is good to feel out where you are and be able to orient yourself.”
 
While the trolley is a unique feature to downtown Wilmington that is attractive to tourists, according to D’Itri, many locals make use of it for their commutes to and from work, to run errands or to take to lunch or breakfast.
 
“It is free and convenient transportation for residents headed to work or school and adds a cozy, vintage flare to date nights downtown,” according to a Wave Transit press release.
 
Keeping it free is essential to those at Wave Transit.
 
“It is important that it remains free. Wave wants to continue to offer the trolley for free,” D’Itri said. “It is necessary to provide access to all of the wonderful attractions and amenities. The trolley is as fun as it is accessible.”
 
Long-term plans are currently in the works as part of a multi-phase project that “looks forward and ahead,” according to D’Itri. With a new executive director, Marie Parker, and a new Board of Directors, “expansion and enhancement is one step and one point on a much larger plan.”
 
“The goal is to bring folks great, well-planned loops. The Port City Trolley is a shorter route that is completed in 40 minutes,” D’Itri said.
 
The fixed route bus service lines run on 60-minute loops.
 
Operating hours for the trolley are Monday through Friday 7:20 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 10:40 a.m. to 6 p.m.
 
Updated digital maps are available on Wave Transit’s website, www. wavetransit.com, under the “Routes and Schedules” and “Rider Information” tabs. Printed copies can be found on the trolley, at both Wave Transit transfer stations and at many of the destinations along the route.
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