By Melissa Quinn
Plans to connect Del Ray to Old Town with a free trolley have ground to a halt, officials say.
Despite interest in the free service – an extension of the King Street Trolley – the city has struggled to find an outside company to operate the transit line. Officials began soliciting contractors on October 4 and held a pre-bid meeting for interested vendors. But when they closed the bidding period on October 31, they had no takers, said spokesman Tony Castrilli.
Castrilli pointed to the still recovering economy as a likely factor in the lack of interest.
Despite the setback, officials remain behind the project. Staff with the city’s transportation and environmental services department are exploring other options to ensure the trolley moves forward.
DASH, which operates the King Street line, does not have the capacity to take on the expansion. But Rich Baier, transportation department director, hopes the mass transit agency can beef up its Saturday and Sunday bus service to Del Ray in the meantime. DASH normally operates on a limited schedule in the neighborhood during the weekend.
Baier’s staff will update residents on the project at a 6:30 p.m. meeting in Del Ray this evening. Officials will pitch the DASH solution and explore other potential fixes with residents during the get together.
“We want to get trolley service out there, the businesses and residents want it out there, but we have to find someone willing to offer the service and provide it,” Baier said.