At a special meeting Monday, the Havre de Grace City Council approved a resolution that brings the city’s trolley system one step closer to completion.
The resolution allowed Havre de Grace Mayor Bill Martin to send the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration an indemnification letter, meaning that the administration would not be held responsible for any liability caused by the trolleys.
The Tide will feature four trolleys to carry citizens around the city. The planned route is about 3.5 miles with 16 stops, although this is subject to change, according to Patrick Sypolt, the city’s director of capital projects and grant management. A trolley, with room for eight passengers and a driver, can complete a loop of the current route in about 17 minutes.
“We have a very walkable city,” Sypolt said, “but there are some people who, for various reasons, a few blocks sometimes can be a challenge. So this should assist in that.”
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The trolley fleet would operate initially on Fridays through Sundays, or for special events in the city happening during the week. The system would operate from April to November and, weather permitting, during the holiday season.
Initially, there will be no fee to ride the trolley, although a small one likely will be charged following the trial period, Sypolt said.
Sypolt said he hopes the system will be up and running by this upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend, but if not, hopefully by the first weekend in June.
The trolleys are electric and leave no carbon footprint, as they’ll be powered by solar energy generated in Perryman, Sypolt said. They’re also cost efficient: the city estimates it will cost about a penny a mile to operate each trolley.
Sypolt said other municipalities across the state may take the city’s lead to implement trolley systems of their own. Other cities have reached out and asked where they’re at in the process, he said.
“I think the work that we’re doing here will shed light for others to benefit from this,” Sypolt said.