Clang Clang! Clang Clang!

Photo courtesy of Thomas Hawk

Attention, all you Ye Old Towne Alexandria tourists: the King Street Trolley is coming. Announced on the city’s website, the trolley will be running in 15 minute intervals from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the weekends, motoring between the King Street Metrorail and the waterfront. It will stop at all signed stops along King Street, which are about 2 blocks apart.

Oh, and it will ring a very annoying brass bell for as many times as the driver sees fit.

Here’s the rub, though: it’s not on rails (thank heaven). It’s not tied to an electric wire above. So…is it really a “trolley”? According to the press release, “the trolley sports a black and red exterior, rubber tires for a smooth ride, and adjustable paned windows.”

Don’t know about you folks, but from where I come from, that’s called a BUS.

Which is quite appropriate, actually, as the trolley will replace the DASH bus service that ran free on the weekends. The last DASH run will be discontinued after this Sunday’s service.

So let me get this straight….the city council approved and funded a trolley service for a route that’s sort of covered by an existing bus service, but with more frequent runs in a vehicle that isn’t really a trolley but more like a bus?

The service was approved as part of the city’s National Harbor Initiative and will complement the water taxi service offered from the National Harbor Development across the Mighty P. (That service, incidentally, also begins on April 1.) The City Council is hoping / expecting hundreds of new tourists visiting Old Town from these services and, I suspect, try to make it easier for DC residents to cross the river and dine on the Virginia side of the river. Which isn’t a bad thing, really. The shops and restaurants along King Street and the harbor are actually very nice and present excellent food (if a tad pricey).

We’re taking some friends from NYC down there over the next weekend (they’re here for the obvious DC event, the blossoms), so hopefully I can not only get a few photos of these beasties but maybe see if they do indeed alleviate traffic and cart more people down, as the Council hopes.

As long as that clanging bell doesn’t annoy me, that is…

Ode to Cartier Bresson, courtesy of Thomas Hawk

3 Comments so far

  1. Tom Bridge (tbridge) on March 27th, 2008 @ 12:22 pm

    "Trolly" and "Streetcar" are way sexier than "Bus" and that’s why it’s called what it’s called. People want the old-timey feel while not having to deal with the infrastructure of the old-timey transit.


  2. dodger on March 27th, 2008 @ 12:28 pm

    My office is right on King St by the Metro so I’m looking forward to taking the "trolley" down toward the waterfront for lunch occasionally.

    On an unrelated note – what is up with the draconian restrictions on usernames on this site? No underscores? No capital letters? WTF?


  3. dctraveler on April 17th, 2008 @ 1:14 pm

    I was recently able to see the ‘trolley’ and it is indeed a bus. People from San Francisco would laugh at it, but the DC locals seem to be using the bus…I mean trolley. Atleast it is free, which is more than I can say for the Metro train!



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