WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — If you are a fan of the downtown West Palm Beach trolley service, you are running out of time to catch the iconic ride.
The city of West Palm Beach is moving to a new transit system that will phase out the trolleys in favor of electric vehicles by next Monday, June 5.
All aboard the rideWPB express! 🚐 Exciting changes are coming to our trolley service starting June 5, 2023. Get ready for a smoother, more convenient citywide transit experience. For more details, give us a call at (561) 494-1094. pic.twitter.com/rxsFNAqQRz— City of West Palm Beach (@westpalmbch) May 26, 2023
Whether it's for a free ride or a little entertainment for the kiddos, the red trolleys rolling through downtown West Palm Beach bring a sense of comfort to those who live and work here.
"That's a downtown staple for any downtown area," said Faith Thioune, who works downtown.
"It's been a long time since it's been here, and this style with the open windows really gives you a better tour of Rosemary Square and West Palm Beach," said parent Alice Cruz.
Cruz and her kids have already taken several rides since school got out last week, but hearing this loop may be their last is disappointing.
"They love it and it's free, so it's perfect. I don't know if being in a van would have the same reaction," Cruz said. "All the changes, I'm not a big fan of all the changes. The movie theater is leaving."
According to city documents, trolley ridership has declined significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic, and the current trolley fleet is reaching the end of its life.
So West Palm Beach is launching a new, free pilot transit program called Ride WPB to modernize how people get around the city. Routes will be combined and, instead of trolleys, you'll see electric vehicles.
"I'm gonna miss it, but if this is going to be more efficient and better for downtown, then I'm all for it," Thioune said.
The transit expansion also includes more on-demand services with modified golf carts and Teslas, giving people more flexibility.
"It's a free ride and it looks nice. The shuttle looks very nice. I can't wait until this goes into effect and we see how this works. Hopefully it makes the downtown area better," Thioune said.
So while a bit of the nostalgia will be going away, the city hopes the new system will improve convenience and mobility.
"I'm going to miss seeing the old drivers from the trolley," Thioune said. "I'm gonna miss it, but of course I'm going to continue to ride it."
As we move away from the trolley system that everyone knows, you can learn more about the new routes and vehicles in the Ride WPB program by clicking here.