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The Collegian

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Mayor unveils new free trolleys to fuel downtown nightlife

Parker+T.+Bear+show+off+the+new+Hop+Trolley+at+its+debut+on+Nov.+2+in+Downtown+Fresno
(Diego Vargas/Fresnoland)
Parker T. Bear show off the new Hop Trolley at its debut on Nov. 2 in Downtown Fresno

Mayor Jerry Dyer showed off “The Hop,” a new bus trolley system that aims to connect more residents to Downtown Fresno.

With help from the nearly $300 million that California has given Fresno, The Hop utilizes three newly purchased ADA-compliant buses, outfitted with public Wi-Fi to connect passengers from as far as Campus Pointe to the downtown area.

The trolley buses, which are powered by diesel and cost $288,000 each, operate completely free of charge. The operating budget for the first year of service is $600,000, Dyer said at a news conference on Thursday.

“It is convenient for our students and our young adults who will be able to catch the trolley,” Dyer said. “They won’t have to worry about coming downtown to pay for parking, [or] to find parking, or to have something bad happen to their vehicle.”

“And they also won’t have to worry about identifying a designated driver in advance because we’ve already identified those: the bus drivers on the Fresno Hop and it’s usable by anyone,” he added.

The Hop operates from Thursday through Saturday evenings, running from 5 p.m.- midnight on Thursdays and 5 p.m. – 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. It has seven stops:

  • Campus Pointe (southeast parking lot near the restaurants)
  • Brewery District (Inyo Street/Broadway Street)
  • Cultural Arts District (Service to Campus Pointe, South Van Ness Avenue/Calaveras Street)
  • Cultural Arts District (Service to Fresno City College, North Van Ness Avenue/Calaveras Street)
  • Tower District (Service to Campus Pointe, Wishon Avenue/Olive Avenue)
  • Tower District (Service to Fresno City College, Van Ness Avenue/Olive Avenue)
  • Fresno City College (Van Ness Avenue/University Avenue)

All trolley buses depart “every hour on the hour,” as explained in a brochure handed out during the conference, with a capacity of seating 32 people. It will not run on holidays.

Fresno City Councilmember Miguel Arias said the new trolley bus system signifies a change for the city to become more environmentally-friendly.

“Given the reality that the highest concentration of pollution in our state is here in our hometown, it is incumbent on us not to simply embrace the trolley system…for its convenience and for its ability to save you from a DUI ticket or a parking ticket in downtown, but from the potential that it will improve the health and condition of our environment, and everyone that lives in our community for future generations,” Arias said.

Arias acknowledged the trolley buses run on diesel, saying, “but the next version, I’m sure we’ll get is electric.”

Karen Carrillo, president of Associated Students, Inc. at Fresno State, noted that The Hop will be a way to connect commuter students to the downtown nightlife.

“Something that I hear so often when commuters come to Fresno State is, ‘What is there to do in Fresno? Where’s the fun? Where can I go for the nightlife?’” Carrillo said. “And the first thing that I always brag to them about is ArtHop, it is the nightlife, it is the thrift stores, it is your favorite coffee shop.”

Although The Hop currently only connects to seven stops, Dyer said that the service will be expanded if a larger demand is seen over time. He also mentioned that businesses would be able advertise on the trolleys, and that though the trolleys are not currently available for private charter, that could change in the future.

This story was originally published on Fresnoland.

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