2017-11-30 / Front Page

St. Ignace Trolleys To Link Sites, Businesses

By Kevin R. Hess

The St. Ignace Events Committee is purchasing four antique trolleys for use from mid- May to early November around St. Ignace. They will run a circular route from Kewadin Shores Casino to US-2, with 25 stops along the way. Chamber of Commerce members could be listed on trolley maps, identified by numbers, and for $2,000 they can purchase a stop right at their business.

The fare will be $1 wooden tokens, required each time a guest gets on the trolley. Tokens will be available from chamber businesses and at the chamber office. To be listed on the map, businesses must sell the tokens.

During peak season, the trolleys will run from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Three of the trolleys will run continuously to limit wait times to 12 to 15 minutes between buses. The fourth will be held in reserve in case one breaks down or for day trips to sites such as Tahquamenon Falls or special events such as wedding parties.

Two of the trolleys are being purchased from Mackinaw City, while the other two are being purchased from New Jersey. One of the four will be handicap-accessible. They will be named after the old ferries Chief Wawatam, Ste. Marie, St. Ignace, and Vacationland.

The committee also plans to use the trolleys as shuttles for events like Pond Hockey, saving money normally spent on renting buses, and has discussed other uses for them, such as progressive dinners to area restaurants and for traveling entertainment.

“St. Ignace is about keeping things fresh and continuing to find new ways to market ourselves,” said Events Committee Chair Mark Sposito. “The trolleys will benefit everyone – guests, foreign workers, and residents.”

Hotel front desk workers will be trained on how to promote the trolleys and sell tokens to guests, he said, and he encourages business owners to think about how they can use the trolleys to best market their businesses. For example, his restaurant, Mackinac Grille, was able to use its view of Fireworks by the Bay to promote itself as a good spot for wedding parties. He said with the trolleys, brides and grooms could purchase tokens for their wedding parties or guests to save them from driving or trying to find a place to park.

The trolleys will also create new jobs, said Mr. Sposito. The Visitors Bureau has advertised for a trolley operator to hire 10 to 15 drivers, dispatch drivers, and scheduling and maintenance.

“We’re just now comfortable enough with the plan to start getting information out,” said Mr. Sposito. “We’ve only scratched the surface of ways the trolleys can benefit St. Ignace.”

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