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By Allison Jarrell
San Juan Capistrano’s free summer trolley service began on June 9, yielding high ridership numbers that have exceeded the expectations of city officials.
The majority of the $154,000 trolley program is funded with Measure M2 and air quality grants from the Orange County Transportation Authority. In order to secure future grants, trolleys in San Juan must have a minimum of six boarding per trolley, per hour.
During opening weekend, more than 550 people rode the trolleys Friday through Sunday, while only 264 were needed to meet the minimum grant requirements, according to Assistant Public Works Director Tom Toman. During peak times, the wait time between trolleys was generally 20 to 25 minutes. Toman said nearly 680 people rode the trolleys throughout the second weekend of service—a 21 percent increase from the first weekend.
The trolley will continue to run for 13 consecutive weekends (through Labor Day). The service takes riders along a continuous loop from downtown San Juan to the Dana Point trolley connection stop at Stonehill Drive and Del Obispo Street. Hours of operation are Fridays 5-10 p.m., Saturdays 11 a.m.-10 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Those interested in tracking the real-time schedule of the trolley can use an app called “Ride Systems” for Android or iPhone. Any questions or comments regarding the trolley service can be directed to the city’s public works office at 949.443.6339.