Business

Trolley one step closer to becoming reality in Aldergrove

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If Aldergrove residents ever felt that they were the poor cousin to other urban areas of Langley Township, especially where public transportation is concerned, they can prepare to banish those feelings.

The town is about to embark on a unique way of transporting workers, shoppers and tourists: a trolley bus.

For years, residents have asked TransLink to improve on the scant service the town of approximately 8,000 people receives. Their chorus of complaints, echoed by council, have proved futile.

Now, however, the Aldergrove Trolley Association is one step closer to putting a trolley on the road, serving people who work at Gloucester Estates and the Greater Vancouver Zoo, and providing transportation for those who live as far south as 0 Avenue, including the 450 residents of Pioneer Park.

The service is the direct result of the reality TV show Million Dollar Neighbourhood which challenged residents to make changes to improve their neighbourhoods.

“It’s obvious that the Million Dollar Neighbourhood has brought the community together in the most dynamic way,” Councillor Charlie Fox commented on Feb. 6.

The trolley system has been modeled on that used in Langford on Vancouver Island, said Dave Miller who represents the ATA.

“The Langford Trolley system is extremely successful and tremendously popular in that community,” he said, adding that gas taxes provide most of the funding.

Langford Mayor Stew Young has been “wonderfully supportive” and even paid for a trolley from his town to have a trial run in Aldergrove, Miller said. On that day, the community response was “outstanding.”

Miller said that while the intention is to provide a free service, passengers will be asked for a donation. Operating costs and other funding will come from advertising, grants and contributions from local businesses.

This is how it is done in Langford, Miller noted, adding that gas taxes provide most of that town’s funding.

There will be two routes which currently have little or no TransLink services:

* Route 1 would start at Extra Foods on 272 Street, proceed along 32 Avenue to 264 Street, over the freeway and into Gloucester Estates on 56 Avenue. The route would run four times from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.,with a round trip expected to last 45 minutes.

* Route 2 would start at Extra Foods, proceed south on 272 Street to Pioneer Park, through the park onto Zero Avenue to 248 Street, north on 248 Street to Otter Co-Op and eastward on Fraser Highway to 276 Street, stopping at Save On Foods, downtown Aldergrove and Safeway.

From Safeway the trolley would go along 276 Street to 32 Avenue and back to Extra Foods. Service would run five times daily from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. with a round trip of 60 minutes.

Also planned are two trips running exclusively to the zoo and Highway 1.

Miller said that the association requires approval from TransLink and to date discussions have been “excellent.”

Telling council that the ATA would like the trolley on the road by the summer, Miller said that Langford’s foray into trolley bus transport was so successful that within months another trolley was in service.

Council agreed to consider Miller’s request for $2,500 which will pay to set up a business plan, and the association as the non-profit corporation running the business.

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