Changes Coming to Bay Town Trolley Operations

By: Meagan O'Halloran Email
By: Meagan O'Halloran Email

What was supposed to be a routine meeting over changing some Bay Town Trolley routes turned into a heated discussion. It led to some questioning the future of the the Bay County Transportation Planning Organization's overseeing the trolley system.

The controversy escalated as the TPO was discussing changes to several trolley routes.

While the Bay Town Trolley is the county's only public transportation system, critics say it inconveniences the public. They say increases in ridership has led to an increase in traffic congestion. To alleviate some of the congestion, the TPO board reduced routes two, three, and five, moving some stops away from major intersections and into more residential areas.

But that wasn't the solution for route one, which serves Lynn Haven. Some residents were opposed to the changes, particularly involving Hwy 77 and Pennsylvania Avenue.

"You have walkers, you have joggers, it's just an unsafe situation to keep the trolley on the residential streets, it needs to stay on (Highway) 77" said one concerned resident.

Lynn Haven Mayor Walter Kelley was not convinced that was the answer."We do not need to put that trolley back on Highway 77 because we're getting too many complaints, it's stopping and starting during rush hour and I think it's in the most safe place we can have it right now".

At one point Bay County Commissioner Mike Thomas criticized the Northwest Florida Regional Planning Council Management of the trolley service and asked the board to move it to another agency's supervision.

"We should get some facts and figures, find out exactly what the North West Florida Planning Council does for us, what it cost us over the last year or two, and then we would be better prepared to make a decision like that." says Guy Tunnel.

The TPO formed a committee to address the issue. The group will present its findings to the board at a future meeting.

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  • by Laura Location: Callaway on Oct 13, 2011 at 02:27 PM
    My daughter and several of her friends ride the trolley to and from Gulf Coast State College. This saves money and cuts down on the need for more parking at GCSC. But with the changes in the routes and where the trolley will be able to stop they may have to find alternate transportation because the trolley stops will be too far away from home to walk to safely. Right now they walk about a quarter of a mile to their stop, but the new stop is a mile and a half away from home and when you add the burden of carry books it is a long way. I grew up in San Diego and having buses stop to pick up passengers is just a way of life and if you pay attention you won't get stuck behind a trolley when they stop.
  • by Sonya on Oct 6, 2011 at 04:04 PM
    I can understand the concerns of this "co-called" arguement. I have driven behind some of these trolleys and it has been EASY to notice them to alter my route well in advance to move around them. That is, if you are paying attention to traffic rather than your cellphone. I have recently become a rider and I would hardly coinsider myself or anyone else "trash". It is a good way to get where you need to when you have a mishap in your regular means of transportation. I pay $30 a month to ride. Seems much more economical than driving if you dont mind the wait. I have to get to work and live just like the next person. So when your are uncontrollably without transportation. Think about how you will get to work, school, or grocery shopping let alone how to go out to dinner the beach or to the tanning salon. (Which I do miss) Eventually I will figure out the trolley schedules and how to take the trolley to MY fun places. But for now, it is the necessities. Have a good day.
  • by Tommy Location: Lynn Haven on Sep 30, 2011 at 11:29 AM
    To William of PCB: Your compassion and concern for your fellow man moved me respond to your comment. Referring to the people that ride the trolley as “trash” only speaks volumes about YOUR character! Just for your information the trolley is “delivering” people who do the work YOU are too elite and “unique” to do for your sorry self. I don’t know if you speak for all of Laguna Beach but if you do it truly is a “unique community” only if unique means self righteous, self centered, callous wretch. Just so you know I do not ride the trolley but have a “unique” understanding of those who do! In closing, my request to you is please keep your “unique community” values west of the bridge!
  • by Brian Location: Panama City on Sep 29, 2011 at 08:01 PM
    First, why is the trolley stopping on a road with a speed limit of 45 MPH or more (like Highway 77 and 23rd St.)? This is dangerous and causes traffic back ups. Second, is the trolley self-sustaining or does it still need taxpayer subsidies? If it cannot operate on its own, then disband it. Why does everyone have to pay extra taxes to help a few people ride?
  • by Jay Location: PCB on Sep 29, 2011 at 01:42 PM
    This sounds like backwards logic. Wouldn't the most effective way to reduce congestion be to improve public transportation so that people don't need to rely on cars, not remove it so they have no choice? How about some sidewalks and proper bus stops being built on our busiest roads instead to improve safety instead?
  • by Ridley Location: Panama city on Sep 29, 2011 at 08:02 AM
    trash! do you mean human beings? there are many people who live out on the extreme west end of the beach that use the trolly to get to work. are you willing to give them a ride?
  • by Barbara Location: PCB on Sep 29, 2011 at 07:42 AM
    I hope they are charging at lest 10 cents for a ride. I afraid to ride with some of the people I have seen on the trolly.
  • by William Location: PCB on Sep 29, 2011 at 01:04 AM
    The trolley needs to cease its route west of Highway 79 on Front Beach Road. Laguna Beach has enough problems without trash being delivered here and causing problems for the families and visitors of this unique community.
    • reply
      by JANICE on Sep 29, 2011 at 08:08 AM in reply to William
      you say the trolly needs to cease why beacause you dont ride on it it needs to run all done the beach because people have jobs like me that uses the trolly to goes to and from to work. so you must not work like we all do,and also the people are not trash it must be you so keep your nasty,thoughts to yourself.
    • reply
      by Jack on Sep 29, 2011 at 04:53 PM in reply to William
      Who are you calling trash? West end has public beaches and the public should have access to these beaches.There is also law enforcement in place there if someone is causing a problem.Regardless of who you MAY think you are ,YOU are just another member of our fair city.I just feel our tax money should not be subsidizing these bus routes.If you want to ride then the rider should pay the cost.
  • by Dewey Location: Pcb on Sep 28, 2011 at 09:35 PM
    They need to watch their drivers also I have seen some bad drivers lately
    • reply
      by Sonya on Oct 6, 2011 at 03:42 PM in reply to Dewey
      I understand both aspects of this "so-called" arguement. I have driven behind a trolley and it is inconvienient for a driver. However, it is EASY to spot a trolley and prepare to move to another lane BEFORE you get stuck behind it. That is if you are paying attention to traffic and not your cellphone. I have recently become a rider of the trolley. It is a good way to get where you need to go when a mishap to your normal means of transportation occurs. I would HARDLY call myself trash. Just trying to get to work and live like the rest of the population. Have a good day.
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