Written by:Mirella Barrera-Betancourt
After a long wait, the City of Monmouth and Independence welcomed the arrival of the MI Trolley at the Polk County Fire District Station on April 2. The celebration featured live music from Tuesday Jug Band — a string band based in Monmouth.
The ribbon cutting ceremony was an opportunity for residents and community members to familiarize themselves with the trolley and learn the routes, as well as celebrate the commencement of a free public transit service for the connecting towns.
The operations of the MI Trolley began that same day, as students and residents saw the bright red vehicles running along Main Street and Monmouth Street.
At Western — before the arrival of the MI Trolley — many students with no vehicle access found themselves with limited means of transportation for entertainment purposes and basic errands.
Western is home to WOLF Ride, the free shuttle bus service for students. However, the shuttle service only operates in the evenings from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., which may function as an inconvenience for students who attend night classes or work evening shifts. Moreover, WOLF Ride does not operate on Sundays.
With the introduction of the MI Trolley, students now have access to three forms of transportation: the MI Trolley, WOLF Ride and Cherriots. The on-campus stop for the trolley can be found on Jackson St., across from West House.
Currently, there are three trolleys in operation running along the scheduled route between Independence and Monmouth. The trolley is operated and owned by Cherriots — the official bus shuttle that services and connects the cities surrounding Salem.
For the time being, the MI Trolley utilizes many pre-existing Cherriot bus stops. However, the difference between the two transit services lies in the number of one-way bus trips.
The Cherriots shuttle service provides ten one-way service trips, while the MI Trolley provides 140 one-way service trips daily. The MI Trolley can accommodate one route deviation per one-way service trip, as long as one reserves the trip in advance.
The hours of operation for the MI Trolley are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m.–9 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m.–6 p.m. These hours may be subject to change as the city settles into the new transition.
To learn more about the MI Trolley and the routes, visit the official website at https://www.mitrolley.org/.
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